"Why?" He asked.
"Just do it," I said.
He got up, but Ike stopped him and checked for a fever.
"Jen, he has a fever," Ike said.
I got up.
"I don't," he said.
"Yes you do. Sit down," I said.
"But-," he said.
"Sit," I said.
He sat back down. I got the thermometer and handed it to him. He put it in his mouth and, after 3 minutes, I took it out and looked at it.
"102.3, lay down," I said.
"I want to go with you," he said.
"Zachary......," Ike said.
"I want to go," he said, fixing to cry.
I tilted his head up.
"Listen to me," I said.
"I want to go, " he said, pulling away and lying down. I walked downstairs. Everything was in the car. I stopped at the door. Ike came downstairs. I could hear Zac. I turned around and went back upstairs.
"Come on," I said.
He just lied there so I walked over to him.
"Zac.........," I said.
"Leave me alone," he said.
"Come on," I said.
He had a bottle of sleeping pills but when I reached for it he pulled the bottle under him.
"Zac, give me the bottle," I said.
"No," he said.
"Zac give me the bottle," I said, "Now."
"No," he said, kind of low.
I reached again for the bottle and even though he pulled back I got it. I opened it and saw there were only four missing.
"Zac, hand them to me," I said.
"No," he said.
"Zac, hand them to me," I said, "You wont like it if I have to take them from you."
He still refused so I put my fingers on either side of his neck.
"Hand them to me," I said.
"Awawawawaw, stop," he said, "You're hurting me!"
"Hand them to me. I know you haven't taken them yet because you'd be asleep by now," I said.
"Please, stop," he said.
"Give them to me," I said.
He handed them to me and I let go of his neck.
"You hate me don't you?" he asked, kind of loud.
"No," I said.
"Yes you do. You didn't have to go to Andrew ya know. You could have asked," he said.
I didn't want to go through this...not now...not ever. His voice went up with every sentence. I was tired. Ike made Josh stay downstairs. My head started hurting and I got dizzy.
"Zac, stop," I said.
"Why? I want to know," he said.
I leaned over the bed as he kept on and screamed, "It was either that or your first child!"
Then I realized what I had said. I wasn't going to do that.
"My first child?" he questioned.
"Yes, Zac, your first child," I said. "The first grandchild you gave to your mom. I couldn't have sacrificed a baby that's not even born yet. I wasn't going to write and seal its faith. So, I went. I know I should have told you. I wish I had, but they might have come after you if I had."
"But why?" he asked.
I walked around the bed still feeling a little woozy and not knowing why.
"Zac, I love you. Only you. No matter what Andrew, Adam, Taylor, Isaac, or anyone else says. You're the one I want," I said.
"I know," he said.
"Come here," I said.
I hugged him only to pass out. He caught me.
"Jen?" he asked.
He laid me down and went downstairs.
"Josh, you might want to fill in. I'm sick and she's beat. She passed out from too much stuff. Go on," he said.
"Passed out?" Josh asked.
"Yeah. You remember the last time she passed out...48 hours with no sleep. Nothing. She passed out," he said.
"Okay," Josh said.
He went in my place and Zac came back upstairs to wake me up. Ike followed him.
"Zac, what is it?" he asked.
I opened my eyes and asked, "What happened?"
"You passed out," he said.
"I have to go," I said and started to get up.
He pushed me back down and said, "Josh is taking your place today."
"You need to be in bed," Ike said, referring to Zac.
"I'm going." He said.
He climbed over me and laid down. I started to get up. Zac pulled me back.
"Sleep. Your tired. And I know you are." He said.
I laid back down. Ike cut the light off and left. I laid there thinking. He fell asleep fast. He was tired and sick. I eased up and walked downstairs. Ike was there watching TV. I sat down.
"Ain't you suppose to be sleeping?" He asked.
"How can I sleep?" I asked.
"Close your eyes and go to sleep." He said.
"No. To much to think about." I said.
"Think? You? Yeah right." He said.
"Oh shut-up." I said.
I got up and walked to the garage. Well, what was the garage is now a music room, with instruments. I sat down at the keyboards. They always played, but never really showed it. Me watching them, I learned the keyboards and drums. I started playing a song they had done and played it pretty good. I only missed 3 cords. I kept playing. Ike came to the door and watched. Lightly tapping the keys. Just hard enough to strike the note. I played for hours. Andrew, the house, the past few months flowed through my head. I got up and moved to the drums. Better stress relief. Now they know I knew the keyboard, not the drums. Zac had woke up. Ike just had him listen. But when the keyboard sound was quite for a while. They had to know. I had set it up. And was just started when they both stopped.
"Tay come in?" He asked.
"No. She's the only on in there." Ike said.
"I didn't know she knew the drums." Zac said.
"No listen." He said.
Different sound. Harder. More anger in it.
"What is she thinking of?" Zac asked.
"Probably Andrew... .Zac. You know she loves you. If she didn't she wouldn't sacrifice herself for you." He said.
Zac agreed and they went back to the living room. I played. And played thinking. Then my parents came in. And mixed. The time I was with them and Josh and everything. The hits started increasing. Zac got up and walked back. I didn't hear him come in. He grabbed my hands.
"Shhh...you don't have to hit it so hard. Easy," he said.
Holding it down next to it, I leaned back and let go of the drumsticks which fell to the floor. I fell back in his arms. I couldn't take it anymore. Something had to break. Something I needed to tell, but never wanted to.
"Zac, you remember a few months back, you asked why I never go back home to Georgia?" I asked.
"Yes. I remember," he said.
"Zac, I don't go back because they always fuss at me. Bad career. Bad job. Everything I do is bad," I said.
"So? Don't worry about it," he said.
"Easy for you to say," I said.
"Hey, look at me," he said.
I looked back at him.
"I thought you were supposed to go back to sleep, not play," he said.
I smiled and said, "Yeah, well, you should be in bed too."
"Why don't we both go back to bed?" he asked.
"Sounds good," I said.
I got up and stopped in the kitchen to fix a bowl of soup for both of us.
"Hey, you two. I'm going to the mall for a little bit. Either of you want to come?" Ike asked.
Zac and I looked at each other.
"No," we answered.
Ike left and we went to bed. We slept for a while and when we woke up Josh was home, watching us from the door.
I looked at him and asked,"Watching over your sister, aren't you?"
I sat up and blinked. Zac looked up at me and there were tears in his eyes. Josh walked away.
"What's wrong?" I asked.
He sat up and put his head on my shoulder. He cried for what I didn't yet know. I just put my arms around him and let him cry. Ike came up and stood there watching quietly for a little while before walking back out. He probably figured I knew what was wrong.
"Zac, you mind telling me why you're crying?" I asked.
He pulled away and got a cassette tape.
"He said he would kill you if you didn't come," he said. "And I suppose you're not going?"
"No, I'm not. Zac I realized something. My going isn't helping you. It's me not being here that hurts you more and it hurts me to know. So, I won't go back," I said.
He laid his head back on my shoulder.
"Ike came in but he didn't ask or say anything...why?"
I turned to face him.
"Zac, let me ask you something. Let's change the situation. Let's say it was Taylor, not you-"
He stopped me and said, "I would kill him. He's my brother. I would never forgive him," he said.
"Zac, you just answered your own question," I said. "They see it as something they never knew. They sleep in the same room with you and never once had a single clue that Andrew was hurting you. They saw you everyday. You hid it from them and you did a good job, but when the truth was out...they blame themselves for letting it go on so long. Maybe they noticed the change and maybe not, but, Zac, it's not because they don't care. They do. Believe me. They care a lot."
"I know, but they never want to talk. You're the only one. I have questions I want to ask them. Understand?" he asked.
"Zac, if what happened to you happened to me, I wouldn't go to Josh. I would go to my sister. I mean she is a girl and knows more than Josh would. So, I understand," I said.
"You have a sister?" he asked.
"One. She's ten years older than me and has a son," I answered.
He laid his head on my shoulder again.
"There is something I never told you. Something I left out," he said.
"Left out? When?" I asked.
"When I first told you," he said and sat up.
"What is it?" I asked.
"You're not mad? I mean, I should have told you then," he said.
"Zac, spit it out. Don't take forever to get to the point," I said.
"Andrew wasn't the only one," he said. "The nightmares aren't just about him."
He was looking down at the bed and I raised his face up.
"Zac, what are you trying to say?" I asked.
"Andrew wasn't the only person," he said and swallowed hard. "He took me to a party. About five others. Small party. Sex party. They took turns. Any way. Touch or other. Um, one of them still hangs around. It's not Andrew I'm afraid of. It's him. He...he...he, um," he tried to say but couldn't. He just fell over crying, still trying to explain.
"Zac, stop. I understand. He did the same thing Andrew did," I said.
He sat back up and calmed down a little.
I wiped the tears from his face and dried off his cheeks.
"It was a set up," he said.
"What?" I asked.
"You stay gone all day and all afternoon. On Mondays and Thursdays I'm alone. No one's here. Ike goes off and Josh has the other surveillance. It was a setup. He came back."
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