When we got back to the hotel, Natalie picked up a few things and
took herself and Taylor to the hospital, leaving Ezra under our watch. At the time he was asleep, and so I lay him in Ike's
bed, flopping back on my own.
"I'm sick of this, you know..." Ike announced. I looked up. His eyes were closed and
he had a hand over his forehead.
"Sick of what?" I asked, even though I knew the answer. I wasn't that stupid.
"Everything." he whispered. "I'm sick of everything being so damn fucked up." It was
weird to hear Ike curse. He usually didn't do so...that was more of a thing people expected me or Tay to do. But Ike didn't
seem to very often. I shouldn't have been surprised, after all that was going on with him.
"Well..." I started, "What are you gonna do, are you gonna...you know...give up your
parental rights?" I felt so horrible for him. I couldn't imagine what it would feel like having a kid that didn't even know
you existed. And on top of that, this kid thought some other guy was her dad. That would be enough to make me fall off a building
- intentionally. Ike stared at me wide-eyed.
"Are you kidding me? Hell no, I'm taking that bitch to court." he screamed. I sat there,
wondering if he was the one kidding me. He couldn't take her to court...there's no way he would get custody!
"Ike, come on...get serious, you know she'd get custody. The kid doesn't even know you...they
go by best interest of the child..." I tried to explain. He just sat there for a moment.
"She's an addict..." he finally stated. I look at him, puzzled.
"What are you talking about?" I asked, confused.
"When I went to see her..." he breathed, "She wasn't in good shape. Her eyes were back
in her head, she had slurred speech, she even has....needles...they're everywhere, all over the house..." I could
feel my eyes swell up to the size of two balloons. Needles?!
"You mean like...needles for...heroine?" I stuttered. Closing his eyes, Ike nodded.
"Yeah but...what about...proof?" I asked. I couldn't believe my ears, everything he'd
been telling me in the past 12 hours...I just didn't know what to think.
"I've got pictures...medical records...I will not give up my kid."
He sounded pretty sure of himself; I didn't think I'd be able to talk him out of this. He looked like he was in so much pain...there
was only one thing I could say.
"Well...if this is how its gonna be," I began, "Then I'll be behind you, every step of
the way." I wondered if he would really go through with this. Besides that, when he would. But there was one thing
I still just didn't understand.
"If you knew she was an addict...why'd you beg her to come back to you?" I wondered.
He shot me a guilty look.
"I want to take her by surprise with this whole thing, " he explained, "I don't want
her expecting it." I nodded.
"I'm gonna go get a pepper...you want one?" I declared. He nodded and slipped a dollar
into my hand. I strutted out of the room and down the hall to the vending machine once again. I seemed to be ending up there
alot. I slid in the dollar and pressed the Dr. Pepper button twice. Two cans clunked into the slot at the bottom. I picked
them up and started back to the room. They were icey cold on my hands. When I walked back into the room, I could hear that
Ike was in the shower. Sighing, I lay back onto my bed, flipping on the TV. Ezra poppped up like a Jack-In-The-Box.
"Hi Uncle Zac!" he squealed. Smiling, he climbed onto my bed with me and poked his stubby
fingers all over my face.
"Hey, stop that!" I laughed, sitting up and resting him on my lap. "Sorry I woke ya up, bud."
He giggled with joy. He was always so oblivious to the world around him. I wondered if he even knew what sadness was, besides
being hungry and wanting Nat or Taylor. Suddenly, amidst all my thinking, my cell phone started to ring in my pocket. I grabbed
it and stared at the screen. It was an unrecognized number. I almost hung up but decided that it could have been Nat at the
hospital, so I clicked the send button to answer the call.
"Hello?" I answered. There was a lot of static on the other end.
"Zac? Zac, is that you?!" a woman's voice came crackling into the phone. I made
a face, straining to hear the voice.
"Yeah...and who might this be?" I wanted to know. I couldn't imagine who would be calling
me. Not that many people knew my cell number.
"Zac, it's Heather! Is your brother around? He's not answering his phone!" As soon as
the words hit my ears, I wanted to throw that phone out the window. But I didn't, of course.
"Actually he's not...what the hell do you want with him?" I asked. Oh, shit. I had Ezra
on my lap.
"What the hell do you want with him?" he mimicked. I shook my head at him.
"Stop!" I whispered.
"Zac? Are you still there? Listen I really need to talk to your brother...my lawyer just
called and I know he's mad but he can't take me to court...I just can't afford it right now...are you sure he's not around?"
Heather begged. She was reminding me a little bit of Kate right now. Ugh. I had almost forgotten all about what had happened
"Heather, he's gone right now...he's on a date, actually...I have to go, you're going to have to find another
way to get out of this, because you sure as hell didn't do anything to stop yourself from getting into it." I screamed and
hung um, slamming down my phone. I really didn't care if I'd cursed near Ezra's ears again. Ike walked out of the bathroom,
a towel around his waist.
"Who was on the phone?" he asked.