Title: Time Goes On
Chapter: Chapter 6 of 10
Warning: This fictional story contains mature content such as; alcohol-usage, profanity, sex and violence, consider youself warned.
Excerpt: “Oh Jess, I…” he was cut off though by Isaac jerking him away from us and pulling him onto the couch saying “Sit down Zac and don’t you ever think about touching them again. Got it?!” Zac looked confused “Ike what are you talking about?” Just then Walker came back into the room and puts a cup of coffee down in front of Zac.
“He’s talking about your display last night and the fact that it’s over. Do you hear me? It’s over Zac, done, finished. We’ve had it and we are going to make sure that you never hurt anyone in this family, including Melissa, ever again in any way.”
Stress and tension ran high as time brought on spring with March and with the last week came the promotion. The guys left for New York and although everyone, including him, was convinced that getting back into work was the best thing for Ike, it brought on worry about the trouble that had begun forming between him and Karen since they’d lost Angel. It was clear that things were not going well between them but everyone had simply hoped that it would get better. Over the three weeks the guys were in New York, busy with promotion visits to daytime TV shows, radio stations and meetings with their management team, they would call every night. They would take turns talking to Diana, and sometimes the kids, then for an hour each, Tay talked to Tori and Zac talked to me… usually after the 15-30 minutes Ike would spend talking to Karen. (Those conversations always seemed to end with Karen either raging mad or in tears.) Throughout the first week, I learned very quickly to be home when Zac called or suffer his wrath. It’s almost funny that even from half way across the country and by just the phone, he could still control me. Once, I made the mistake of talking to Ike ‘too long’, therefore not only did I spend our hour apologizing and listening to the lecture, but I later found out that Ike had dealt with Zac as well… Both of us also was another thing, Zac had become increasingly jealous of the time Ike and I talked and spent together and was quickly becoming almost paranoid, convinced that I was with other guys. Even Diana and Walker tried to tell him otherwise, but he wouldn’t listen and had started asking Jessica and Avery where I’d been that day, what kind of phone calls I’d gotten or who I’d talked to. More than once, I was sure he’d read and deleted some of my e-mail.
By the end of the second week, things had somehow taken on somewhat of a normality, in a routine kind of way. When the guys came home though, all hell broke loose. Ike and Karen were constantly into an argument, so much so that they rarely slept in the same room anymore. Zac found one thing or another to yell at me about. He never did it in front of his family. I’d just get that death glare and through his teeth, sometimes accompanied with a firm grip on my upper arm or a grasp on the back of my neck, always close to my ear, I’d hear him say “I want to talk to you later.” Those words always sent chills down my spine. He continued to grill me about everything – what time I left, what time I’d return, where I’d been, who had I been with, why was I wearing makeup, who was I on the phone with, who was the guy I was chatting with in the grocery store – everything.
I was learning the rules quickly though, always wanting to keep from making him angry: Be home when he is, don’t say anything about his drinking or the time he’s out with his friends, don’t question his decisions, never look away when he speaks to me, don’t go anywhere without telling him. One night, Jessica and I learned the hard way that calling the cops was useless and would bring out his rage even more…
It had been a hot night in May, just after my 19th birthday. Jess and I had decided to order a pizza and watch some TV while the rest of the family went to dinner and a movie. Zac had gone to a friend’s house to watch some kind of game that evening and had staggered in around 9 p.m. The room we shared was a mess and Jessica and I hadn’t cooked anything. I had made the mistake of saying “If you had called and let me know when you’d be home, I could have had something cooked for you.” I’d followed him upstairs to our room and when I’d made a comment that he shouldn’t have come in drunk with his little sister there, his response was in the form of the back of his hand across my face and the words “YOU LITTLE WHORE! DON’T YOU EVER TELL ME WHAT TO DO!” He once again slapped me and then in one quick move had picked me up off the floor and threw me onto our bed. He then climbed on top of me and with one knee on each side he pinned me to the bed and leaned down so close that our noses nearly touched. “Ya know,” he spoke barely above a whisper, “I really am starting to believe that you are more trouble than you are worth.” Once again his hand met with the side of my face, this time his knuckle hit my bottom lip and blood began to gush out. I screamed out for him to stop but he just hit me again, this time his palm hit my eye. A loud banging on the front door stopped him from hitting me again and he quickly jumped up and said “Get yourself cleaned up,” as he walked out the door and down the stairs. Moments later, as I was in the bathroom Jessica came in easily and when she saw me she gasped and her hand covered her mouth. “Jess, it’s not as bad as it looks. Do you know who is at the door?” I asked as I wiped the blood off of my face with a washcloth. She nodded and said “I… well I heard him and I ca-called the police.” She looked down and I took her into a hug saying “Jessica, I’m sorry.” Just then I heard the front door shut and we ran to the bedroom window to see a police car pulling out onto the street. Zac’s voice could have shaken the whole house had it been just one notch louder. “JESSSICAAAAAAA!!!!” I grabbed her and said “I’ll go. Lock the door and don’t you dare come out of this room until I call for you to come out. Don’t open the door at all.”
She was crying now. “Melissa, I don’t want…”
I stopped her and said “Do as I say,” then I walked out and leaned against the door, hearing it lock, I walked downstairs. “Zac?” I asked softly when I saw him standing by the door.
“Where is she?!” He yelled causing me to jump.
“Who was at the door?” I asked, again wiping blood from my lip. I could feel the swelling around my eye already and my lip felt a little puffy. He grabbed me and pinned me against the wall. His face barely inches from mine he screamed “FUCK, WHO WAS AT THE DOOR! WHERE THE HELL IS JESSICA?!” I just stared at him for a moment, then cried out when I saw his hand draw back at his side and I hit the floor as his fist met the side of my stomach. I was coughing having had the breath knocked out of me and when I looked up, I saw him reaching down. He knelt and with a hand on each of my wrist he jerked me up and before I was standing he threw me across the room where my back hit the TV and I fell to the floor again. I begged him to stop. He was on a rampage and seemed to be lost in his own world. His eyes were dark, his breath quick and he showed no signs of letting up.
Suddenly, I was pulled up and he held me close to him for a few seconds just looking at me, holding me up by my upper arms. I felt his fingers dig into my flesh and then he said, very calmly, “Ya know, Courtney called the police once too.” Then he threw me down again. This time I went on my side and my head hit the table and as I fell on to the floor, I felt the blood run down my face from my forehead. Then he yelled “Get up. I haven’t hurt you half as bad as I want to!” I cringed as I slowly raised myself onto my hands and knees. I felt blood dripping down my face and I opened my eyes to stand, but before I could, I felt his hands on the back of my shirt. “I SAID GET UP!” he screamed as he jerked me up and pinned me against the wall.
I glanced over his shoulder when he and I heard her behind us. “Stop it Zac! Please just stop it!” He turned quickly and I held my breath as he slowly walked over to Jessica. She was standing just past the stairs and crying. “You little nosy bitch! Who the hell do you think you are?! Do you have any idea how big of a mistake you made?! Do you honestly think that you can fuck around with me?!” I felt a tightness in my stomach.
“Zac don’t hurt her, please.” I begged when I heard his words and saw him walking toward her, taking another couple of steps with every few words, eventually backing her against the wall. She had a look of fear and panic on her face that no one could ever forget. When I spoke to him, he turned and looked at me, asking “What, are you her guardian angel now?” I held out my arms and Jessica ran to me as we stood embraced and facing Zac while we cried. I looked down and realized that my shirt was bloody and I could barely see out of one eye. He just walked back toward us and stopped just two feet or so away. He crossed his arms over his chest and stood straight, inhaling deeply as he dropped his head and letting the breath out as he looked back up at us. “Well, this is just too sweet for words,” he said smiling. “Two nosy, worthless bitches who can’t seem to mind their own business looking out for each other. I’m touched, really.” Jessica began to sob quietly as she buried her face into my chest. “It’s alright honey. Shhh.” I whispered. Zac’s voice made us both jump and look at him. “OH FOR THE LOVE OF CHRIST! You two are really something you know that?” He had thrown his hands in the air and now stood with his hands on his hips and only a few inches from us now. “God, I’d give anything to have a picture of this right now. Two whores in an embrace. I could get a lot of money for that.” He walked away and then stopped at the bottom of the stairs. He turned around and said calmly, “Jessica, come over here.” She stood frozen, her grip around my waist tightening. He spoke again. “Jesssicaaa. I saaaaid commme heerrreee.” He said in a singing voice. She looked at me and then back at him still not moving. “JESSICAAAA! GOD DAMMIT, I SAID GET OVER HERE!” She then walked slowly to him and when they stood face to face, he looked down at her and said, “You really shouldn’t have called the cops.” Then with a glance at me, he turned back to her and in a sudden move he drew back his hand and it came toward her, slapping her face and sending her to the floor. She screamed out in pain and I rushed to her side, my own pain ignored for the moment. Then he looked down at both of us as I cradled her in my arms, her hand on her face as she cried.
“I’m sorry Jessica, but you have to learn to stay out of my business.” he said quietly. Then as we watched, he turned and walked up the stairs, into our bedroom and closed the door.
“I can’t believe this! I ought to go upstairs and beat the shit out of him!” Isaac said as he stood by the kitchen sink looking out the window. It was late the next morning, most everyone asleep, Zac still passed out, except Ike and me. Diana had taken Zoe to the doctor for a checkup, they were gone before anyone else was awake, and both Mack and Avery had spent the night with friends. I was sitting at the table, sipping coffee and had told Ike everything about the night before. He turned and leaned against the counter.
“Keep that ice on,” he said as he took a sip of the coffee in his cup.
“Isaac, it was like he was possessed. I’ve never seen that look in his eyes before. God, it was like he wasn’t even here, just some monster in his body.” I slowly rested the ice pack on my face, letting it touch my cheek, eye and lip all. Isaac walked over and sit next to me.
“I know, he gets angry and it’s like some kind of animal takes him over or something. But still, he can’t go unpunished for this. He’s gonna kill you. This has to stop.” I looked at him and saw tears in his eyes. Suddenly, with a drop of the ice pack on the table, we embraced, hugging tighter than ever before. The phone caused us to pull apart though. He answered on the third ring. “Hello…? Oh hey mom…”
I went upstairs to get dressed. Looking in the mirror just after getting out of the shower, I got a look at myself for the first time. I had a swollen cheek that was bruised, a black eye, my lip was puffy and busted, I had a cut on my forehead that had discoloring around it, my jaw was bruised, both arms had his hand prints in purple on them and my wrist were still sore and red. My back was bruised on the back of my shoulder and one on the lower side. I was sore and my eyes were bloodshot and puffy from crying. When I had finished dressing I went downstairs to find Diana at the table with Ike and Walker standing next to the patio door. Jessica was sitting at the table as well with a tear stained face. It was obvious that she had told them too and that Ike had repeated everything I’d told him.
“Oh my Lord!” was all Diana could say as she hugged me. Walker turned at the sound of his wife’s cry, and when Diana let go of me he just shook his head and said “I’m gonna beat the crap outta that brat! He knows better than this. He wasn’t raised to do this! Dammit!” Diana sighed and said quietly “Walker, please don’t swear honey.” We all walked into the living room. Diana had dropped Zoe off to spend the rest of day with her aunt and cousin. Jessica sat on the couch and when I sat beside her she fell into my arms. I soothed her for a minute then took her face in my hands and lifted her head toward me. “Are you alright?” I asked. She nodded and said “I was so scared.” Diana brought out some ice tea and sat in the chair next to the couch. Walker looked at Isaac and said “Son, I’d like to talk to you in private.” Ike nodded and said “OK dad.” The three of us watched as the two of them walked down the hall to the office and closed the door. I instantly got a terrible tightening in my chest and Diana’s face took on a look of worry but a bit of satisfaction as well.
About 45 minutes later, Ike walked out and came to kneel in front of me and Jess. “Did either of you mention anything to the younger ones after we got home?” We both shook our head and then he asked “What about Karen and Tori? Have either of you told them what happened last night?” Again, both of us shook our heads ‘no.’ He nodded and then stood. He crossed his arms and said “Dad, neither of them told anyone.” We turned to see Walker walking into the living room. He sighed and said “Someone has to tell Tori and Karen. We’ll need their help. “Suddenly we all turned when we heard him. “Tell what? What do you need help with?” Diana looked away as Walker turned to face his son. “Good afternoon. Glad you are awake. How do you feel?” Zac just shoved his hands in his jeans pockets and yawned. Then he answered “Like shit.” Walker put his hands on his hips and walked into the kitchen saying “Have a seat,” to Zac. Diana immediately stood and held out her hand saying “C’mon girls. Let’s go upstairs.” Jessica and I stood and Zac grabbed my arm. When I gasped, he let go right away and we stood looking at each other. He ran a finger, gently, down my face and then glanced at Jessica.
“Oh Jess, I…” he was cut off though by Isaac jerking him away from us and pulling him onto the couch saying “Sit down Zac and don’t you ever think about touching them again. Got it?!” Zac looked confused “Ike what are you talking about?” Just then Walker came back into the room and puts a cup of coffee down in front of Zac.
“He’s talking about your display last night and the fact that it’s over. Do you hear me? It’s over Zac, done, finished. We’ve had it and we are going to make sure that you never hurt anyone in this family, including Melissa, ever again in any way.” Diana’s arm slid around my back and she said “Jess, Melissa, come on now.” I let her lead us out of the room and up the stairs. In the hall we were met by Taylor. “That son of a bitch!” he asked as he looked at me. “Taylor, don’t swear,” Diana said as we passed. Then she added “Go into the living room. You’re dad and Isaac are in there with Zac.” Taylor walked toward the stairs saying “I’m gonna kill that jerk. God help that worthless liar if I ever get my hands around his neck…” his voice faded as he walked down the stairs and then we jumped when we heard him shout suddenly “WHAT THE FUCK ZAC?!! YOU JUST CAN’T STOP BEATING THE SHIT OUT OF HER!!” Diana sighed heavily and then led us on down the hall. She stopped and knocked on the bedroom door and Tori opened it. “Hi honey. Listen, we’ve got a situation so go get Karen and you two come into my room,” Diana said. Tori said “Well Karen heard some yelling and we were just trying to figure out what happened and we…” she gasped. Her hand flew to her mouth and she got tears in her eyes when she finally noticed me. Diana took her hand and said “Tori, you and Karen come into my room.” With that, Diana led Jessica and I down the hall and around the corner to hers and Walker’s room.
The next hour was spent with Jessica and I telling everything that had happened the night before and once in a while we’d hear a lot of yelling from downstairs. We all sat on the bed crying. Suddenly Zac burst through the door and fell to his knees in front of me. Walker came in a moment later, followed by Ike and Taylor. Zac looked at me and said “Baby, baby you know I don’t mean to hurt you. You tell them that. Tell everyone that. Melissa, you tell them that I don’t mean it. Tell them everything is OK with us.” He had one hand on each side of my face and had tears in his eyes. I looked around and realized that they knew everything. Everybody already knew everything and I couldn’t have lied to them if I’d wanted to.
I just looked down at Zac and said “I know you don’t mean to, but this has to stop. I can’t go through this anymore.” Zac just fell at my feet and sobbed. I saw a look of guilt, anger and relief on everyone’s faces. Walker stepped over and said “Zac, you need help son. Now do this and things will be better but none of us can deal with this anymore.”
I looked at ike and said “Do what? What’s going to happen?” Walker led Zac out of the room as I stood up. “Isaac, what’s going on?” Taylor and Diana led Karen and Tori out of the room and were soon followed by Jessica. I turned back to Ike and saw him taking out a booklet from Diana and Walker’s dresser drawer. “Ike?” I asked quietly as he turned to face me.
“Melissa,” he sighed before continuing. “Zac needs help. This isn’t normal. Now, we’ve looked into it and mom and dad have found a place close to here. He’d have to stay there for two weeks with no visitors or phone calls for 48 hours. Then he can talk on the phone for two hours everyday. After the first week, if everything goes well, we can visit for an hour each day. After the two weeks are up, he can come back home but he’d have to go to a group meeting once a week for a couple of hours and to a one-on-one session for an hour twice a week.”
I sat back down on the bed. I tried to let what Ike was saying sink in. “Does anyone else know?” I asked. Isaac sat next to me. “Well, mom and dad are going to tell Jessica and Taylor is probably telling Tori and Karen right now. Zac just found out and of course mom and dad and I know, but that’s it and we are going to keep it that way. There’s no need in the press getting word of this. Especially not now.” I nodded as tears fell down my face.
“What about the kids?” I asked, aware that they didn’t know anything about what had been going on. Ike sighed again. “Mom and dad are going to tell them he went to visit a friend. That way, they can talk to him on the phone. They won’t be able to see him though and they can’t know that we’ve been to see him on the days we go.” Again I nodded. “Melissa, this is the only way. He can get help and things will change but not until he stops. He has to control himself. We’ve just run out of ideas and we all think this is a good solution. Just look over this. Come downstairs whenever you’re ready.” He stood and placed a hand on my shoulder as he leaned down and gently touched his lips to my forehead. Then he walked out closing the door.
I took a moment to compose myself and then leaned back on the bed and started flipping through the booklet. I read success stories and descriptions of the center itself and of the staff. “A Cry For Help Treatment Center.” I read out loud from the cover. “Rehab for drug and alcohol dependency and treatment for anger management issues.” I once again thumbed through the book and re-read the facts and signs of anger management issues.
It was like reading a description of Zac. I said to myself as I rolled off of the bed and looked at my reflection in the full length mirror in the corner, “Well, this is a situation to cry for help.” As tears began to roll down my face again Jessica stepped in and wrapped her arms tightly around me. We hugged for a minute and cried. Then wiped our faces and walked out into a house now full of hope for a much brighter future. If only we had known then the price we’d have to pay for it.
“Melissa, you ready to go?!” Ike called from the living room. I pulled my hair back into a ponytail as I yelled down the stairs “Be there in just a sec.” I took one last look in the mirror and spread on some lip gloss. Then I picked up my purse and walked down the stairs where I found Diana standing in front of Zoe, who was sitting on the back of the couch. “But mom, why can’t I go?” Zoe whined. Diana smiled as she saw me walk into the room and then turned back to her youngest child. “I told you Zoe, they are going to a place that don’t allow children. You’d have nothing to do there anyway. You stay here with me and help me with lunch and then they’ll be back before you know it.” I smiled as Ike said “C’mon, we have to be there in a little while.” I nodded and Diana hugged me and whispered “This’ll be a great surprise.” Ike and me walked out and got into his car. The ride was quiet most of the way. The morning sun shone bright. “Do you think this is a good idea?” I asked as Ike turned off of the highway. “Yeah, of course it is. It’ll be ok, I promise.” I once again turned and looked out of the window. Ike slowly pulled the car into the parking lot and parked.
We got out and walked into the building. It was like a hospital… cold – which made me wish I had worn jeans instead of the knee length pleaded skirt that Tori had picked out for me – the only colors were white, tan and dark green. There was no carpet and a bunch of people in white uniforms were going back and forth. Someone’s voice kept coming over a speaker and there were long hallways and double doors.
“Can I help you?” I looked up to see a lady, probably in her late 30’s, talking to Isaac as he propped one arm on a huge desk. I quietly stood beside him. “Yes ma’am…” he was saying “We’re here to see my brother.” She rolled her chair over in front of a computer. “What’s his name hun?” Ike answered “His name is Zac Walker.” Ike glanced at me. I smiled in return. The lady typed in something on the computer and waited. Then she looked back at us. “Oh hun, you have to have a pass card to see him.” Ike reached into his pocket and pulled out a card, handing it to her. She smiled and typed some more. Then with a bright grin, she returned the card and handed us each a visitor’s tag to pin on our shirts and asked if we needed directions. Ike said we didn’t and took my hand, leading me down a long hallway to a set of elevators.
As we got on and the doors closed I took a deep breath and prepared myself for what was about to come. I hadn’t seen Zac since the day he left and I was nervous and happy all at the same time. Jessica had at least talked to him on the phone and everyone else had been to visit. I just kept thinking that I wouldn’t know what to say and deep down, I really didn’t want to see him. I wasn’t even sure I was ready now but according to everyone, this was a good idea and he’d asked about me countless times. Everyone told me that he was ready to come home and the doctor had said that he’d been doing really well. Still, there was the thought that he’d managed to fool everyone again… it certainly wouldn’t have been the first time. I shook the thought as the elevator doors slid open.
We stepped out and walked down another long hallway into a huge room filled with couches and tables. It had carpet and there was another big desk with two older ladies sitting behind it that seemed to be very busy. There were a few people visiting and Ike and I walked up to the desk. One of the ladies looked up and said “Hello, may I help you?”
Ike smiled and said “Yes, we are here to see Zac Walker.” The lady nodded and picked up a phone and spoke quietly for a moment. When she hung up, she said “Just have a seat.” We did and Ike said “They don’t let these people come in here unless they have visitors. He’ll be in here in a minute.” I nodded and once again tried to calm my nerves with a few deep breaths.
I began to remember the last week and a half, I had watched Diana come up with very clever excuses as to why Avery, Mac and Zoe couldn’t go with whom ever was going to visit Zac. I had heard the telephone conversations and seen the worried, sad expressions and heard the sighs from everyone everyday. A voice broke me from my thoughts.
“Melissa, oh God, baby! You’re here. Oh God, how are you? I can’t believe you’re here.” He held me in a hug for what seemed like forever. When he finally let go, he kissed me gently and then pulled me down to sit next to him. I couldn’t speak. All that time of not seeing him and remembering the last time I had and what had happened… it was too much and when he and Ike began to chat, I felt a rush of gratitude that Ike was there. “Yeah Zac, everybody’s doing OK.” he was saying. “Are you OK?” I asked quietly. He turned toward me and smiled as he took my hand. He sighed heavily then nodded. “Yeah, yeah I guess. I’m better. I just miss home.” I nodded just before he hugged me again. I assured him that I was OK. “It was really hard for a few days but I’m alright.” I looked into his eyes as we talked and searched for some sort of proof that he wasn’t the same guy who’d hurt me so bad. What I saw in his face was amazing. He had an expression of complete regret, peace and a child like innocence. I couldn’t help but smile. He then turned to Ike “Is the tour still on? I really wanna play again.” Ike nodded and answered “Yeah, it’ll just be awhile. Tay and me were thinking in the fall. Ya know, after, well after you’re better.” Zac smiled and then turned back to me. “Mel, I promise, if you’ll just hang around long enough for me to start the out patient treatment, things are gonna be great for me and you. For all of us.” he looked back at Isaac, then continued, “I swear, I’m better and none of that stuff is going to happen anymore. You guys just have to be patient and have some faith in me. We’ll be OK.” I nodded and we hugged again. As he pulled away, I felt tears fall down my face. He just gave a small laugh and wiped them away. “Don’t now. None of that. I’ve seen you cry enough because of me and I can’t take it.” He hugged me again.
For the next 45 minutes, we talked about the family and tour and how the kids were wanting him to come home. Ike gave him some artwork that Zoe and Mac had done and a spelling test that Avery got an A+ on. Too soon, it was time for us to leave. With another hug and kiss, Zac and I said goodbye and Ike and I walked out and got into the car. I had to admit that Zac looked great and although I could tell he wasn’t happy there, it was clear it was helping him.
The next few days went by without much happening. The kids were growing increasingly impatient with all of us, for they had figured out that we were indeed hiding something from them. Something important. It was also no help when they realized that Jessica knew all about it. Karen and Ike were all but considering themselves divorced by this time. It had caused a great deal of stress within the family but at the same time a sense of relief… with them barely speaking, the arguments had stopped. Diana had done her best to keep her family held together but it just wasn’t working. I went to visit Zac once more and had felt a feeling of a weight having been lifted off. I could see a big change in him and hoped it would continue once he was home. To everyone’s delight, it did.
Zac came home that next week and it was a wonderful. He was attentive to everyone and had done more than his fair share of helping out around the house. He attended all of his meetings had done all in his power to make up for lost time. He’d also proved that he could limit himself to one drink and he was always in a good mood. He spent a lot of time helping Walker with yard work and he could often be found in the studio with his brothers. It seems that he had written several songs while in the treatment center. I would, on occasion, hear Diana humming an upbeat tune as she prepared dinner or sewed clothes.
Tori and Taylor had announced that they were expecting a baby, that had caused a great deal of happiness to flood through the house and I had since sold my home – that also added more to be thankful for. Slowly, Ike and Karen had started talking more and more and although they still didn’t spend a lot of time together or slept in the same room, they had finally agreed to start seeing a marriage therapist to save what they had left of not only a marriage but a relationship in general. Everyone had agreed to be ready and open for the suggestion that the damage was beyond repair and that they may have to just go ahead and divorce. For the time being, though, the family was doing well, and after what each of us had gone through, we were taking all the happiness we could get.
I didn’t expect it to feel like it did. I guess it had just been too long. It was the first time in nearly two weeks we had a chance to be alone. Someone always wanted his attention. I accepted it, his family was so happy to have him home and well. I missed him though. We were always so tired that by the time we did get to be alone we’d fall asleep almost instantly. Not that night though. The family had gone to dinner at a friend’s house and we had somehow managed to talk our way into staying home. No one was thrilled with that idea but they had given in. The minute they were gone, Zac had taken me into his arms and kissed me. I felt like my whole body was on fire. Things had moved somewhat fast and I found myself laying on the king size bed we shared, our clothes, all except my bra and panties and his boxers, laying here and there on the floor, with the exception of his shirt, which was draped over the chair. He was on top of me. His hot breath on my neck as he kissed me and slowly ran his hands over my legs. My breath caught as I felt his tongue run across the sensitive area just behind my ear. He held it there for just a moment then gently bit down on my earlobe. My nails dug into his back and a low, long groan came from his throat. He raised on his forearms and looked down at me. His thumbs rubbed my temples and I saw a small smile creep over his face as I raised one leg and let it rest for a few seconds on his lower back. He lowered his head and kissed me. Then he made his way to my neck where he began to slowly lick the side, obviously pleased with the reaction of my leg pressing against him, my fingers gripping him and the soft sounds of pleasure and aching that I was trying to hold in. I wanted him inside me, I wanted this game to stop. He was no doubt completely aware of what he was doing, he had to know that he was torturing me with his teasing. Although we were both enjoying it. “Zac,” I said in a whispering, breathless voice. He glanced up from kissing my collarbone. “What baby?” he said as his tongue ran across the bottom of my throat. “Zac, now. I need…” I became speechless when his hand slid down between my legs and slowly back up. It caused my body to twitch and he smiled slyly. “What do you need?” He asked as he moved back up to look down at me face to face. “I need you.” I said. He smiled now. “I need you too.” he whispered. “No,” I said almost unable to speak. “I need you, I want you inside me. Now, Zac. Please.” He smiled again as he leaned down to kiss me. When he raised back up, he said softly, “But, there is still a lot more to do.” With that, I let out a somewhat high pitched whine, and he slid down to continue his game. I was loving every second of it in all honesty. To feel his tongue and lips going across my stomach sent me into a space-like feeling. I felt my body begin to jerk. I closed my eyes hoping that I could remain controlled. It was pointless. In a quick move, he had my bra off and he started to kiss my breasts. Between kisses, he’d let the tip of his tongue run slowly over my nipple, causing me to let out a near scream. He moved quickly now, making his way to my panties. “You sure you want to do this?” he asked just above a whisper. He knew exactly what the answer was but it became apparent that he was enjoying the game he’d started and had every intention of making me wait. “God, Zac!” I screamed as I dug my nails into his shoulder. I raised my head and looked at him. Our eyes met and a grin spread across his face. Suddenly, I felt his fingers slide under the lace strip of material that went across my hips of my panties and my mind began to spin. He raised to his knees and pulled them off, tossed them on the floor over his shoulder with a grin, and ran his fingertips up my legs in a crawling motion. I could hardly concentrate on what he was doing. He gripped the outside of my thighs as he lowered himself again and kissed along the inside first, slowly moving up between my legs. He teased me for a little while, kissing up and down my legs, across my hips and lower stomach, and running his tongue along the crease where my leg met my pelvis. However he was carefully avoiding the area that was burning for his attention. “Zaaaaac!” I screamed out breathless, “Oh God! Please Zac!” He suddenly raised up and looked at me. “I guess you think you have waited long enough huh?” he said teasingly. I bit my bottom lip and looked at him. “Please Zac. Don’t tease me anymore.” I begged with a whining voice. “Baby, I love you.” Before I could react in the least, he’d leaned down and I felt his lips touch me. My head jerked back hard and although I had always knew he liked for me to allow my pleasure to be known, I went beyond that as I was unable to contain it and began to moan and nearly scream. He slowly adjusted one of my legs over his shoulder and tortured me with light touches of his tongue and the movement of his mouth. I opened my eyes when I felt him moving up my body. He and I both pulled on his boxers until they were off and had fallen onto the floor. I felt him slid into me and his expression of pleasure was accompanied with a moan from deep in his throat. It was more than just the pleasure of sex… Zac and I were connected, soul mates, the only guy I knew I’d ever love, and he knew it as well as I did. As he moved inside me I wrapped my leg around his waist and then took it off again. I opened my eyes when his movement all but stopped and I heard his voice ask shakily, “Does that hurt?” I looked at him, confused for a moment. “Does what hurt?” I asked. “For you to have your leg around me. Does it hurt? Is it uncomfortable?” I realized he was referring to the way I had suddenly moved my leg off of him. “No, it’s not. It doesn’t hurt.” I answered. His hands slid up from beside me and into my hair and I felt him take it in his hands make a fist as he quickened his movement. His teeth clenched and we both began to breathe quickly. “Then put it back.” He said after a few seconds. “What?” I asked almost unable to think. “Put your leg back.” he said as he reached down with one hand and gripped my thigh, urging me to wrap my leg around him. I did and he once again tugged at my hair, causing my head to tilt back. “You sure you are OK like this?” he asked breathless. “Uh-huh.” I answered. He started moving faster. I gripped his arms as his eyes closed and I felt the muscles in his arms tighten as he raised off of his forearms and onto his hands. Sweat glistened on his face and chest. Suddenly, a somewhat harsh climax hit us both and my nails dug into his shoulders as we both screamed out. He collapsed on top of me as a rush of relief and pleasure went through my body. We lay still for a few minutes, our bodies entangled together. Slowly he raised his head and kissed me. When we parted, his fingers slowly ran over my lips and a small smile came across his. I ran my fingers through his hair as he rolled off of me. Laying on his back he turned to face me. “You are so beautiful,” he said barely above a whisper. I smiled and he pulled me into his arms. With just a sheet over us, we lay in silence for a few minutes. Then he said “I can’t wait to show you off when we go on tour.” I laughed slightly and then then we suddenly heard Zoe squeal, “I DID NOT!” Zac and I looked at each other and began to laugh as we hurriedly got dressed. Diana called from the stairs “Zac! Melissa! We’re home!” Zac and I burst out of our bedroom door and down the stairs, only to be met with tired, worried stares from the family, well, everyone except Karen and Isaac.
“You did it Zoe!” Avery said with a raised voice. Zoe placed her hands on her hips and yelled out again “I DID NOT!” Walker closed the door and said in a even tone “Avery, Zoe, that’s enough.” Zac and I looked at each other, confused, but knowing that we’d probably never know what it was all about. “Mom?” Zac began, as he scooped Zoe up making the little girl forget all about whatever it was she was being accused of, and giggle about her brother holding her upside down with her legs flung over his shoulder. “Mom? What’s wrong? Where’s Ike and Karen?” Diana turned now and faced both of us. Her expression told more than I’m sure she would have wanted. “Well,” she answered, “I don’t know who will get here first tonight but by tomorrow morning, Karen will be on her way to her mother’s home. I really don’t think I can go into it right now. I’m so tired. Taylor, Tori, would you two put the little ones to bed?” With a nod from her middle son and her husband’s arm around her, Diana said goodnight and she and Walker went up stairs. “Taylor looked at us and said “They had a fight.” He then turned and took Zoe out of Zac’s arms and carried the tired little girl to her room with Jessica ahead of him. Tori stood still for a few seconds and then shrugged and gave a tight lip smile as she ushered Mackenzie and Avery to follow Taylor.
Zac and I went into the kitchen and sat at the table for an hour trying to piece together what could have happened with what little information we had. It seemed like everything had been going so good, now we’d been tossed into another storm. The sound of the phone ringing broke our thoughts and Zac stood up and answered it on the second ring.
“Hello,” he said quietly. A second of silence and then “IKE! Oh my God man, where are you?!” I waited as he began answering with “Uh-huh.” Then with a somewhat disappointed expression he said “OK, bye.” After hanging the phone up he said “Ike’s staying at a motel tonight and he wants me to come pick him up in the morning cause he don’t think he’s gonna be able to drive. That’s why he’s not coming home tonight. That and he don’t want to be here when Karen leaves.” We looked at each other in silence for a few moments until we heard the front door open. We both walked into the living room to find Karen walking toward the stairs.
“Hey.” Zac said. Karen jumped slightly and said “Hi. You scared me. I thought everyone would be in bed.” She smiled and continued up the stairs. Zac and I both followed and when we got to the room she shared with Isaac, she pulled the suitcase out of the closet. “So you’re really leaving?” I asked.She faced me. “Yeah. I have to. Ike and I are going through with a divorce.” She turned again to her closet and started taking the clothes out and placed them on the bed to be folded. “But I thought you were trying to work it out.” Zac said as he crossed his arms. “Zac, there’s just nothing there anymore.” Karen said as she began laying folded clothes in the suitcase. “This is better for everyone.” We both knew that they were prepared for this outcome, we all were really, but that didn’t make it easier. Zac and I helped Karen get her stuff packed and then load up her car. By that time, it was almost four in the morning. Karen hugged us and handed us a letter to give to Isaac the next morning. She promised she’d call when she got to her mother’s house in Oklahoma City. We watched as she backed out of the driveway and drove off. Zac and I walked back into the house and he locked the door. He led me up the stairs to our room and closed the door behind him. “Melissa?” I turned and looked at him. “What?” Without a word, he walked over to me, wrapped his arms around my waist and kissed me. When we broke apart, he slowly pulled my shirt off and kissed me again as he walked me to the bed. I felt the bed hit the back of my legs and I looked at Zac and the expression on his face. It was one of hurt, disappointment, confusion and desire, all mixed together. “Lay down.” He said with a seriousness in his voice. I laid down and he laid on top of me. He kissed me again and then he raised his head and looked at me. Suddenly he rolled over onto his back and then pulled me on top of him. Our faces just a few inches apart, he let his fingers become tangled in my hair and then whispered “I need you again.” I sat up and took his shirt. As I pulled he raised up and lifted his arms. Then he laid back down and I began kissing him. I kissed his face, his neck, his shoulders, arms, chest. He whispered “I love you Melissa. I love you. Please make me forget all this stuff.” He was so desperate to forget the things that had happened to him and his family. As passion took over and he and I made love again, with the light becoming brighter outside, we both knew that each of us was hoping that the worst was over.
How wrong we were. If we’d only known then how wrong we were.
I woke up to find Zac gone. That was rare since we both slept in whenever we got the chance. I climbed out of bed and wrapped my robe around me. As I walked down the stairs, I heard voices in the kitchen. Isaac was home. He and Taylor and… uh huh, Zac… were all talking in the kitchen. I walked in and leaned against the door jamb for a moment before I was noticed. “Morning sweetheart.” Zac said as he looked up from the cup of coffee he held in his hand. “Morning guys.” Isaac smiled and Taylor nodded, lifting his cup to his lips. “Everything alright?” I asked as Zac handed me a cup of coffee with a kiss on the side of my forehead. They all nodded and then I suddenly remembered what had taken place the night before. I walked over and placed my hand on Ike’s shoulder. The hurt and worry were so obvious on his face. “I’m gonna go to the studio for a while,” he said as he stood up and walked out. Zac and I now sat at the table. “Taylor, what happened?” I asked. “Oh hell, Melissa, I can’t tell you. It was fine one minute and the next they were arguing over something. We didn’t even know what it was. Then Karen says that she’s coming back here to pack her stuff and Ike said that if she did that, that he didn’t want her to come back. Karen said she was calling a cab and Ike took off out the door. Shortly after Karen left, so did we. Mom and dad are wrecks. Dad said Avery and Zoe got into a petty argument on the way home and Mac just kept asking about a divorce. Jessica rode with Tori and me and she cried the whole way. Tori was nearly in tears and I swear I almost crashed the car twice. I don’t know what the hell is going on but this family’s having to put up with too much shit if you ask me.” Then he stood up, set his cup in the sink and as he walked out, he said he was going to check on Tori. “God Zac. What’s going to happen now?” I asked. Zac sighed and then said “I don’t know. I just don’t know.”
The rest of the day went by with no more said about Karen, the argument or what a disaster Ike was, as did the following days. Throughout the next week, Tori through herself into planning for the baby, Diana seemed to keep herself busy with her youngest children, who were being a little more restless than usual and Walker spent most of the time working outside.
I had taken an interest in hanging out with Jessica and Avery. We’d watch movies, do each other’s hair and nails, look at stuff on the internet and play board games. Avery had a way of talking people into games of scrabble and monopoly and the guys spent the majority of their time in the studio.
Breakfast and dinners were quiet and I really can’t say, honestly, that anyone slept. Zac would toss and turn throughout most of the night and I’d hear countless footsteps in the hallway until 4 a.m. Ike, I don’t think, ever came upstairs to bed. I would always find him watching TV in the living room. One morning, at around 5 a.m, I had gone downstairs for a glass of juice and had found him there, again, lost in some old black and white western. I got my juice and sat down beside him. “Are you doing OK?” I asked quietly. He looked at me for a second and then nodded. “I’ve thought about things so much. Everything.” he said as he turned the volume down on the TV. I waited for him to continue. “I hate saying this but honestly, I haven’t been in love for a while. Not really. I did a hell of a job pretending though huh?” He gave a little laugh and continued. “I was so happy, thrilled actually, about Angel. I don’t know what happened. Even before she was pregnant, I just found myself doing the one thing that I’d never thought I’d do again since we’d met.” I sighed and asked “You thought about being with someone else?” He looked at me and kinda laughed, answering “No, no. I never thought about cheating. I started thinking about what my life would be like without her. I met her when I was seventeen. I guess I never had a chance to really date around a lot ya know. I just found myself not wanting her with me all the time and then we found out she was pregnant but I knew it even then, things were different already. I just wasn’t in love with Karen anymore. I tried to be, I pretended I was, but I wasn’t. I think she knew it too. I really believe that she knew I didn’t love her like I had when we met or when we were first married. I couldn’t help it. I didn’t stop on purpose, it just happened.” I sipped my juice as I tried to think of something to say. I really didn’t know how to respond. “Isaac,” I said finally, “I wish there was something I could do. I wish you didn’t have to go through this.” He looked over at me and smiled. “I just want it over with. I want to hurry up and start the tour. I think it’ll do us all a lot of good to be on tour and see our fans again.” I nodded and then he patted my shoulder and said “You go on back to sleep.” I smiled as he leaned in and kissed my forehead and then I stood and walked back upstairs. Ike turned the TV back up and laid back on the couch. I sighed wondering how long it would take for him to be able to sleep through the night again.
I walked into the bedroom Zac and I shared and saw him beginning to stir. I crawled into the bed next to him and watched as his eyes opened. “Hey,” he said with a dry, raspy sound in his voice. “Hey,” I repeated. Zac stretched his arms over his head and groaned as his back popped. Then he turned onto his side and faced me. “You OK?” he asked as he raised his head and took the glass of juice in my hand. “Uh-huh. I guess so,” I answered. Zac took a drink and handed the glass back to me, then fell back onto the pillow. “What is it baby?” he asked as he stretched again and turned over to lay on his back again. “Ike is downstairs watching TV. He hasn’t slept through the night yet. I’m really worried Zac. He don’t sleep, hardly eats and your mom practically has to shove the food down his throat.” Zac rubbed his eyes and then laid his hand above my head and began running his fingers through my hair. “I know. It’s hard on all of us. I think he just needs some time and we have to be understanding. He’ll be alright. We just have to make sure that we are there when he does need us and that he knows that. I think once we get back on the road, he’ll get back to his old self.” I accepted that, knowing Zac was right.
It wasn’t exactly a good day. The tour was going to start soon (Which meant chaos had once again taken over the house) and divorce proceedings had begun, Karen had filed three days earlier, with the first meetings taking place the next day. Ike had already agreed not to make it messy. Since there were no children and Karen had signed a prenuptial, there wasn’t a lot to work out. They would meet a few times with their lawyers and a judge and divide everything they owned together and then it would be finalized. Ike had written out a statement to release to the press and Karen had agreed not to contradict it… after she’d read it of course.
The day went on with everyone busy with their own things to do. Zac and I had gone out to dinner that night and when we’d gotten home, everyone had gone to bed… except Isaac. He was sitting in the den playing his guitar. “You two are home late,” he said as he walked into the living room. “Yeah, we stopped at the river and talked for a while,” Zac said as he and I headed up stairs. Zac turned back and we watched as Ike stretched out on the couch and flipped on the TV. “Ike, man, why don’t you at least come upstairs and get comfortable. You can watch TV in your room.” Zac suggested. Isaac looked up and smiled. “Thanks but I’m alright here.” Zac and I exchanged glances and Ike said “Goodnight, and please stop worrying, I’m ok.” We both smiled at him, continuing upstairs to our room where we undressed and got ready for bed. “I hope he’ll be ok.” I said as I settled in the bed next to Zac. “Oh, he will be. Things will get a lot better as time goes on, you’ll see,” he replied as he began flipping through the TV channels.
When I’d woken up the next morning, the house was buzzing with activity. After a quick breakfast, Ike had left around eight and Zac and Taylor were in the middle of a brainstorm in the den with their tour manager on speaker phone. Diana was trying to clean the house around her three youngest children, who were all full of energy. Jessica was painting her toenails and watching the news on TV, which showed a group of Hanson fans standing outside a Ticket Master in Charlotte, NC, in the rain waiting for Hanson concert tickets to go on sale. “You have got to be kidding me.” I said as I’d stopped to listen to the report about the 25+ fans that had stood in the rain for the last hour. “Oh Melissa!” Jessica jumped, saying “You scared me!” She grabbed her chest as I smiled and said “Sorry. Didn’t mean to.” She giggled and turned back to adding another coat of polish. I continued into the kitchen where I was nearly knocked over by Zoe running by, in a squealing fit, followed by Mac, laughing claiming to get her back, then Avery right behind him yelling something about the spilled Kool-aid on her carpet. Then came Diana in a fast pace walk screaming “I SAID NO RUNNING IN THE HOUSE!” I smiled and waved as I stood stirring coffee when she greeted me with “Morning hun,” as she walked past. Taylor and Zac came walking in the kitchen and already looked tired. Zac grabbed a Dr.Pepper out of the fridge and while standing next to me and kissing my forehead, lifted the can and placed it on the back of my neck for the value of my reaction, a high pitched screech kind of noise that even surprised me… which caused him and Taylor to burst into laughter and earned me the nickname “Crash.” Taylor made the mistake of asking his mother if she’d iron his slacks. At which Diana responded by smiling and quietly taking the slacks from him, laying them on the ironing board, resetting the iron and pulling Taylor over in front of the board, placing the iron in his hand, then walking out with a laundry basket full of towels to be folded. That caused Zac to nearly bend double with laughter. When able to contain himself to a certain level, and much to Taylor’s surprise, Zac suddenly walked out yelling to Tori to get the camera. I couldn’t help but assist Taylor.
So the day went on, much like it had been that morning. Ike returned with the news that Karen had agreed to the the statement, it would be released the next morning and final plans were being made for the tour… which would start in October. It had been decided that Tori and I would go with them. Diana, Walker, and the other children would meet up with us here and there but be in Tulsa throughout most of the four months that the guys would be on the road. Promotion would have to take place now… that would begin in two weeks, lasting only one and the dates had already been announced, with tickets going on sale that morning. I was about to get a taste of the real life with Hanson.
This fictional story is hosted at The Gifted Ones,
with permission from the author Chelle.