I got back to my hotel and went into my room quietly. It was pitch black. Everyone must have been asleep. I carefully made my way in the bedroom and closed the door silently. I got undressed, just keeping on my boxers, and went into the bathroom. I closed the door and flicked on the harsh light. I blinked hard and looked at myself in the mirror. I looked positively strange. I actually had color. That never really happened. Normally I used makeup to appear normal. My eyes were bright blue. Very unusual. I looked around the bathroom and grabbed a washcloth off the towel rack. I turned on the cold water and soaked the wash cloth. I washed my face, actually feeling warm. I looked back in the mirror and stared, long and hard. I was imagining her, sleeping in the bed peacefully. Probably dreaming about the time she had spent with me. With me. I smiled to myself and closed my eyes, taking a deep breath.
I finished in the bathroom and flicked off the light as I closed the door behind myself. I stopped suddenly when I could see Zac standing there, staring at me.
“Uh…hi bro.” I smiled.
“What’s going on!” Zac said angrily and crossed his arms over his chest.
“Nothing. I just got in a little later than what I had planned.” I said and walked past him.
“Where’s Ike?’ I asked, looking around the room.
“He’s watching a movie in mom and dad’s room.” Zac answered and sat down on the bed.
“Taylor, what’s going on with you? You’re acting so strange.” Zac said, looking up at me and narrowing his eyes.
“Nothing. Why?” I asked, trying to act as if I had no idea what he was talking about. I couldn’t tell him what I really was. First of all, he wouldn’t believe me, second of all, if he did, he would immediately tell the rest of the “family”.
“Come on Tay, don’t lie to me. I’ve known you all my life. I can tell when you’re hiding something.” He said.
“Zac, I’m not hiding anything…”
“I mean, you’re always leaving so late at night. You’re hardly ever with it during the day. Half the time, you want nothing to do with us. You know, you scared the hell out of me the other day when you tried to smother me…”
“I wasn’t trying to smother you! I was just playing around!” I said angrily, trying to defend myself.
“Give it up Tay! Something is going on! If you don’t tell me, I’ll figure it out on my own!” Zac yelled as he jumped to his feet.
“NO! No. Zac…I’m telling you, truly, there’s nothing wrong. If there was, you’d be one of the first I’d tell.” I smiled and put my hands on his shoulders gently.
“Tay, I’m worried about you.”
“Nothing to be worried about bro, nothing to worry about.” I smiled.
“Then you won’t mind tomorrow that I go out with you.” He said, narrowing his eyes at me.
“I…but…” I stammered. How in the hell was I going to be able to feed if he was around? DAMN! He looked at me suspiciously.
“All right.” I answered.
The next day, I was sleeping in my bed with the pillow over my face. All of a sudden, the loudest noise startled me and I rose up. I looked around the room with hazy eyes and could see Zac sitting on the floor with one of his cymbals. He had the mallet in his hand and was smiling up at me mischievously.
“Why the hell did you do that!” I yelled as I put my hand against my head.
“Wakey, Wakey!” He smiled.
“Shut up!” I said angrily and fell back in the bed, covering my head with the pillow.
“Come on Tay, get up.” Zac said, as he walked over to the bed and poked me with the mallet.
“Leave me alone.” I said with a muffled voice.
“NO!” He said defiantly. He jumped on the bed and started to poke me in the ribs.
“LEAVE ME ALONE!” I yelled.
“NO! GET UP!” He yelled. He got close to my face, removing the pillow and smiled at me obnoxiously.
“ZAC!” I yelled. I jumped up and grabbed him, putting him in a headlock.
“I WANT TO SLEEP!” I yelled as he squirmed under my grip.
“NO!” He yelled and with that, he flipped me over on the bed.
“What are you two doing?” A voice said, coming from the bedroom doorway. I looked up and could see Ike standing there, holding Zoe. He had a funny look on his face.
“I’m trying to get Tay up but he’s not cooperating.” Zac said rubbing his neck. I got up and fell off the bed. I finally got my footing and staggered over to Ike. I smiled and reached for Zoe.
“I don’t know if you should be holding her, you can barely stand up.” Ike laughed.
“Just give her to me!” I demanded. He handed her over and I took her in my arms. I smiled at her as she giggled. I walked over to the bed and sat down, bring her onto my lap.
“Hey.” I smiled and kissed her on the cheek. She giggled again and I laughed.
“Man, the only time you seem to be in a good mood is if you’re playing or around Zoe, what’s the deal?” Zac said, putting his hands on his hips.
“She’s not annoying.” I retorted.
“Well, what are we doing today?” He asked, changing the subject.
“I wasn’t really planning on doing anything. I WAS going to sleep!” I said, not looking at him.
“Come on…” Zac started to whine. I absolutely hate when people whine, including my victims. I shot him a look and he quickly shut his mouth.
“If you let me get dressed, we can go around New Orleans.” I sad and sighed.
“Okay.” He answered. I got up and handed Zoe aback to Ike. I walked to my suitcase and grabbed a pair of jeans and a red t-shirt. I went into the bathroom and got dressed. By the time I had gotten out, Ike and Zac were still standing there and Zoe was not longer there.
“Mom came in and got her so I can go with you guys.” Ike smiled.
“Oh, great.” I said to myself and gritted my teeth.
“Nothing.” I answered. I grabbed my shoes and put them on.
We walked down the street, clad in hats and sunglasses for the obvious reasons. Zac was ahead of Ike and I and was going down the street at full speed.
“Dude! Slow down!” Ike yelled.
“Would you two just hurry up. You’re so slow!” Zac yelled back.
“Hey! Let’s go in this shop!” I yelled. I stopped in front of the same shop that I had bought my shirt and mask at. We opened the door and came in. The same woman from before was once again at the counter, reading a magazine.
“Oh hello.” She smiled up at us.
“Hi.” I answered.
“I recognize you, you came in before, looking for a shirt for that masked ball.” She smiled.
“Masked ball?” Ike questioned.
“Didn’t Zac tell you, I went to one last night.” I said, looking at him.
“No. I would’ve gone with you.” Ike said and looked at Zac.
“Sorry, I forgot.”
“I hope you didn’t forget to tell mom and dad.” I said angrily.
“No…I remembered.” He smiled awkwardly. We looked around the store and Zac kept trying on the masks that looked ridiculous.
“So, Tay, meet anyone last night?” Ike said, smiling and raising his eyebrows.
“Maybe.” I said non-chalantly.
“Dude, what’s her name?” He said with wide eyes.
“What does it matter. I’m not going to see her again.” I said, turning my attention to a shirt on a near by rack.
“Oh, come on…spill it.” Zac interrupted, taking a ridiculous rainbow colored mask with marabou feathers off.
“Her name was Phyllis.” I answered.
“And…” Zac said, probing more.
“And what?” I questioned.
“What happened?” Ike smiled.
“I kissed her.” I said and walked away from them.
“DUDE! You kissed her!” Zac yelled.
“Shhh…you’re so loud!” I said, putting my finger to my lips.
“Let’s go.” I said angrily. I began walking to the door when it opened.
“My heard almost went into my throat. My hands went clammy and my eyes were wide in shock. She walked right in with the other two girls, Holly and Amanda. I quickly turned around and headed back over to my “brothers”.
“Tay? What’s wrong?” Zac asked concerned.
“Uh…nothing.” I said nervously.
“That’s her isn’t it?” Ike smiled.
“Shut up!” I said angrily.
“Which one?” Zac said, looking past me.
“HEY! I said, trying to push him back.
“The one with the glasses.” I answered, remembering her face as she came in.
“Which one, two of them have glasses.” Zac whispered. Finally I turned around, ducking low to the ground, and glanced at them. Holly was by the same box of masks Zac had been in previously. Amanda was looking at a dress and Phyllis was by the counter, looking at the jewelry. Ike and Zac took my cue and lowered down onto their haunches.
“She’s by the jewelry.” I answered and pointed towards where she was standing.
“Why are we ducking?” Ike asked.
“I don’t want her to see me.” I said, looking at my “brother”.
“Okay…” Zac said with a puzzled look.
“Her friends don’t particularly like me.” I answered and turned my attention back towards her.
“She’s pretty.” Zac said, startling me.
“Huh?” I questioned.
“I said she’s pretty. What did you think I said?” He laughed loudly.
“Shh!” I said, covering his mouth with my hand. I looked back and could see Amanda coming towards the rack where were hiding behind. She stopped just before it and lifted her head, sniffing in the air.
“Hey Phyl, I smell that cologne again.” Amanda called. I started to grit my teeth and look around nervously.
“Where Man?” She asked, coming toward her friend.
“Around here.” Amanda answered, pointing to the rack. I looked through the clothes and I could see that pentacle, staring me in the face. I let out a disgusted sigh and quickly tried to silence it.
“What was that?” Phyllis asked, moving more towards the rack. My eyes went wide. Ike and Zac looked at me with funny looks on their faces. I glared at the both of them.
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