"I'm so glad that you guys made it here! We were so worried about you! We got out of there before it all happened, but it didn't sound the same for you guys!" Mrs. Hanson said, hugging each one of her sons, as soon as they were safe inside their hotel rooms. "You know I had my angels watching over you!"
Isaac, Taylor, and Zac agreed. God was really keeping an eye out for them. They quickly said a thank-you to God in their minds as Mrs. Hanson prepared the younger ones for bed.
"So, what are you guys going to do now?" Jessica asked them as she lay on one of the beds.
"I'm going to take a shower and go to bed. I'm exhausted!" Zac yawned. Taylor and Isaac agreed and the family exchanged hugs before going to their separate rooms.
"Give Dad a hug for me when he gets in." Taylor said after kissing his mom on the cheek.
"Sure, do you think it'll be okay if he stops in your rooms before he turns in for the night?" Mrs. Hanson asked as she brushed her beautiful, knee-length hair.
"I don't see a problem with it, and neither should the guys. Well, I'll see you tomorrow morning. 'Night. Love you." And with that, Taylor opened the adjoining door and stripped off his sweaty wife-beater tank top, as he got ready for his shower.
Meanwhile, Zac was allowing the hot water to penetrate into his skin to soothe the aching muscles all over his body.
"God, I don't quite understand what I'm feeling here. I mean, I'm living my dream. You gave me this gift of music and now I feel bad because sometimes I wish this wasn't happening. Maybe it's just the fans' reactions that scare me. Why can't they just treat me like a normal person? I'm always bombarded with fans running up to me and treating me as if I'm on a pedestal. I'm a human. I make mistakes. Oh, God, I really need someone to talk to right now. Thanks for being there." Zac finished washing off the remaining lather of soap and turned off the water.
After changing into some fresh clothes, and brushing his teeth, he collapsed onto his bed and turned out all the lights except for the table lamp by his bed.
"What a night! I'm going to sleep!"
But, no matter how hard Zac tried, something in his body wouldn't let him. His heart started to beat rapidly as he felt someone approaching the door.
Melanie Hunter, a nineteen-year-old brunette, was walking down the hallway of a posh hotel.
"This is so weird. My eyes are not seeing this. I must be dreaming!"
A beautiful angel dressed in a shimmering white robe with gold trimming guided Melanie down the narrow hallway.
"What am I doing here? Are you sure I am the right person?" Melanie questioned the angel as they neared the last door.
"You are the chosen one. Someone needs your help." The voice cooed. Melanie nodded, her mouth too paralyzed to speak.
"But what do I say? What am I suppose to do?" Melanie panicked as the angel disappeared from view. Melanie closed her eyes to arrange the scrambled thoughts in her head. When she opened them, she found her 5' 8" frame inside the dim-lighted room.
"Dear Lord, I don't know what your purpose is for me here, but please guide me in the right direction!" Melanie whispered as her eyes roamed to a teenage male figure on the twin-sized bed.
"Don't be afraid, he just needs someone to talk to. I'll be right behind you. Go on, he's waiting for you." A voice gently whispered in her ear, the angel that confronted Melanie just moments before. Melanie slowly made her way towards the bed, the angel's delicate wings touching the small of her back.
The teenager's eyes fixed on Melanie as if a train was coming toward him: his body frozen.
"How did you get in here?" Zac spoke, breaking the silence swallowing the room.
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you." Melanie stuttered, feeling very self-conscious.
"I'm not going anywhere." Zac stated as he stared into Melanie's panicked blue eyes. "I could have sworn I locked that door!"
"Um, how do I explain this? Well, um..." Melanie mumbled nervously as she chewed a strand of hair, her eyes starting to glaze over as she shifted her gaze away from his penetrating glare.
Zac didn't know what to say. He felt Melanie's awkwardness and wanting to befriend her, patted his hand on the bed motioning her to sit next to him.
"May I?" Melanie timidly asked as she saw a twinkle in Zac's eyes. She plopped her body onto the bed and tucked a pillow behind her back as she folded her knees into the lotus position.
"I don't mean to intimidate you. Let's just say I don't have too many visitors late at night in my hotel rooms." Zac said as he sat sideways, propping his head up with his right hand.
"Well, this whole situation is new to me. I'm wondering if this is all just a big joke or some kind of weird dream. Believe it or not, I saw an angel and she told me you needed someone to talk to. I'm not here to ask you fifty questions or pry into your personal life, but if you need someone to talk to, looks like you're stuck with me!" Melanie grinned.
Zac's head was swimming with questions. How did she get in his room, how did she know that he needed someone to talk to, and why did he feel a peaceful presence in the room?
"So..." Melanie said as her hands roamed over the bed comforter.
"So, what's your name?" Zac mumbled shyly.
"Melanie. Melanie Hunter."
"That's a beautiful name. I like that." Zac smiled genuinely at her.
"Thanks." Melanie replied as she twisted a brown lock of hair around her index finger.
"I didn't mean to scare you, Zac. I hope I'm not intruding. I know some of the fans can get a little crazy." She said trying to break the awkward silence.
"How did you know my name?" His eyes narrowed as he studied her face.
"Well, Zac, I'm one of your fans, too. But Zac, I'm not going to hurt you." Melanie raised her hands to show surrender. He eyed her skeptically and after a moment his tension dissipated.
"Thanks." Zac sighed in relief. Melanie slowly rested her hands on her knees.
"Zac, I don't know how or why, but I know God put you in my life for a reason. I want you to know that I'll always be here for you. And, when I can't be....God will." Melanie said as she gently placed her right hand on top of his. "You are so special to God. He's using you and your brothers in a mighty way through this music. Don't give up, Zac! Trust in God with all your heart. He'll take care of the rest."
"I....I don't know what to say! I don't know; things are getting kind of hectic lately, and I just wish it would stop. Is that so much to ask?" Zac said as he lay on his back and placed his hands behind his head as he stared at the ceiling.
"Oh Zac, it's the fans, isn't it? I've heard about all those attacks. You just want us to treat you like human beings, don't you?" Melanie said as she stretched out her legs and lay on her side and stared at Zac.
"That would be nice! But the fans don't attack us that much. It's just sad to see most of the girls come up to me, acting differently around me because of my name. They don't really see me for who I am. Sometimes, I have a serious look on my face. And then, I get comments like, 'Zac, why are you so sad? You need to smile!' and it just makes me mad. I'm not going to be happy every second of my life!" Zac exclaimed as he turned to look at Melanie. Their eyes connected, and Melanie saw for the first time in her life a whole new side of Zac.
"Zac, I wish I could change the perspective of all those fans. Hanson fans can sometimes be the weirdest fans. I don't know, I look at other bands and you don't hear about their fans acting towards them the way some of us do towards you. I see that we're the only fans that have come by the busload to your house and taken clumps of your grass, and rummaged through your trashcans, and invaded your tree house. We're the only fans where in San Francisco a girl ran up on stage and scared Taylor to death. Sometimes hearing what other fans do to you... it makes me sick."
Melanie grew silent and stared anxiously at the ceiling, hoping to stop the tears forming in her eyes.
"All I know is if the fans had the attitude you had, life would be a lot easier for my brothers and I." Zac gently wiped away a tear that was slowly streaming down her face. "You don't know how you're making me feel right now. I feel like a burden has been lifted off my chest. I really appreciate you being here tonight, Melanie. I've never been able to tell a fan how I truly feel."
"Well, I'm glad I can be here for you. I know God has a reason for bringing us together tonight." Melanie said as she propped her head up on one elbow. "You can always count on me to be there for you when you have something on your mind, Zac. And, it doesn't just have to be when you're feeling down. I want to talk with you when you're having the greatest day of your life. I want to share those moments with you. I want to be your best friend."
"I like the sound of that! Let's shake on it." Zac grabbed her pinky finger and wrapped it in his.
"Friends?" Zac questioned.
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