I could hear someone faintly calling
my name. I slid off the headphones
and looked up to see Natalie staring
back at me.
“What is it?”
“We’re here, let’s go.” She whipped
around and picked up Ezra. I figured
she was just as upset about this as any
of us. Well, that is, besides me. There
was no way she knew how I felt. I forced
my tired, aching body to get up and
walked off the plane. Oh, man. I had
forgotten. We were having an autograph
signing at the airport.
“Hurry it up Zac. And hey, you know,
you might want to be as calm as possible
in front of the fans. We don’t want anything
getting out about this, right?” Taylor
seemed to feel pretty bad for me I guess.
I felt a little guilty for some reason.
“Yeah, yeah…right.” More camera flashes
went off. I put on my fake, goofy smile.
But after a little bit of faking, I was actually
feeling a little better. My real smile started
to find its way back to my face. Maybe I
should just forget about this whole thing for
a while. Besides, Tay was right, I didn’t
want the news about my unborn kid all
over magazine covers. We finally got to
where we would be signing CD’s and
pictures, and waited for the fans.
“Here they come,” Ike said. He was looking
a little less sick. I wondered if he was
faking it like I had been. Right there in
front, there was this quirky fan that just
stood out from the rest. She had these wild,
wacky clothes on, and she was carrying…
wait, what?! She was carrying…a 24
pack of Dr. Pepper? And even though
this fan’s look was quite wild, she seemed
to be the sweetest person you could ever
meet. She was 14, maybe 15. She
approached us and laid all the soda
on the table.
“It’s great to meet you…I’ve waited
a real long time. But I can’t stay, so
I brought you something to keep you
energized tonight. Good luck.” And
with that, she started to skip away.
“Wait a minute, come here!” She turned
and looked at me, shocked that I had
said a word to her. “Come on, don’t you
want an autograph?” She looked a little
upset, and just took off running. Man,
that girl had some legs on her. More
and more fans poured in, and after a
while, my hand could barely move
anymore. But you know what kept me
awake? Those 8 Dr. Pepper cans.
I must say, I was feeling slightly over
energized, which might actually
have been a good thing, because
now, it was straight to the bus again,
for a long ride. We boarded the bus
after once again risking the loss of our
hearing. There were hundreds of fans
just dying to meet us.
“Hey Zac, you think you’re gonna be
alright tonight?” Tay asked. He was
looking just as hyper as I felt.
“Yeah, I think being with the fans actually
kinda helps.” I looked up at him and
laughed. “Uh, you might want to get a
It was going to be another long ride
until we got where we needed to go.
“Does someone want to take Ezra for a
while? I was gonna take a tiny nap before
we got to the hotel.” Natalie looked
horrible. She was gonna need more than
just a tiny nap.
“I’ll take him, Nat.” I offered. I could
never resist playing with my nephew.
He was pretty cool. Kate looked at me
yet again with that look of hers. She did
that a lot lately. Ugh, she was probably
picturing me as a dad…everything rushed
back to me and I had a huge headache
“Kate, grab me some aspirin or something.”
I heaved. Her face saddened. She stood
up and searched through the cabinet.
She slapped the door shut and handed
me a blank bottle.
“What are these?” I asked. Hey, you never
know, she could be trying to kill me or
something. I hadn’t exactly been the
greatest guy around lately.
“It’s ibuprofen! God, Zac, what do you
think it is, poison?!” She screamed. Her
face was now bewildered. Fire gleamed
in her eyes. Well, now I had no problem
telling she was pregnant. She sure had
the hormones kicking in. I wondered how
far along she was. Ezra started to cry as
Natalie handed him off to me.
“Thanks, Zac. You’re gonna be a great dad.”
Oh, man. She had to go and say that.
I felt horrible. I was gonna be the worst dad
in the world.
“Don’t worry, man. We’re gonna be there
for you. It’s not so bad.” Taylor reassured
me. He was sitting next to me now. He
lifted Ezra and set him on the floor, handing
him a few toys to keep him occupied.
“I’m not ready for this.” I mumbled.
“Who is?” Ike added. He flopped down
on my other side and we all sat there
“I guess we could always, you know,
cancel the show…” Tay offered.
“No, no way! That wouldn’t be fair.
I’m fine.” I lied.
“It’s ok, man. You remember what
a wreck Taylor was when he found
out about Nat. And look at him now!
“Yeah, I know…” The truth was, having
a family was something I really wanted.
But I was scared…and I didn’t want
this with Kate. It just wasn’t there for me
“We had a pretty big fan count today.
I guess the record’s doin pretty good.”
Ike was good at changing subjects when
they needed to be changed.
“Yeah, and that sure was awful nice of
that girl to bring us all that Dr. Pepper.”
I sighed. Ike and Tay looked at me.
“What?” they chorused.
“You know the one with all the loud clothes.
She brought us all the soda. Come on!
You have to remember! She was like, the
first fan there!” They just sat there looking
“Uh, Zac, do you mean the 24 pack of Dr.
Pepper? That we drank while we were
there?” Ike was giving me the weirdest
look as he talked.
“No, the other pack,” I snapped sarcastically.
“Zac, WE brought that Dr. Pepper…” Taylor
said. He looked a little worried. I just looked
at them. They had to be joking! I had seen
that girl bring us the soda with my own two
“Zac, I think you should get some sleep.
We’ll watch Ezra for you.” Isaac helped
me up and I went to lie down. This was
the strangest day I think I’d ever lived.
What the hell was going on with everything?