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I m p r i s o n e d

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Chapter 5

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 I was still laying there when Tay came in

 to get me.

“Hey…you hungry? We were thinking

about getting some Burger King or

something.” He asked me.

“Uh, yeah, actually. I’m practically

starving to death. Get me a, number

6 with mayonnaise only, k?” I sat up as

 I spoke. My speech always seemed to

 be a little impaired whenever I first woke

 up, so I wondered if he had understood me.

“Well, actually…we were thinking maybe

 you could come with us. You know, just

you me and Ike. We haven’t done anything

 like that in a while. You wanna come?

I think it would do you some good.” He

offered, and he looked like he really

wanted me to come, so I agreed. I walked

 into my shoes and we got off the bus,

Ike following. Kate ran out of the bus doors.

“Wait, Zac!” she yelled. I put my head in

 my hands. What could she possibly

want now?

“Zac, wait up!!” she was running

after me. “Wait!!!” For a moment I

almost took off running myself, away

 from her. But I couldn’t really stray from

 Tay and Ike. We weren’t even with a

bodyguard right now, so we were at

some high amount of a risk, I guess.

Whatever risk that might be. Maybe

 being trampled and kissed to death

 by thousands of teenage girls. Hey,

that might not be so bad. Kate had

finally caught up and was catching

her breath. She was about the slowest

 runner I’d ever met in my life.

“Zac,” she breathed, “I just wanted to

 say I…I love you.” I looked around.

Tay and Ike were looking at me, expecting

 me to respond the same to her. Why

couldn’t I say something? Anything?

“Kate, I…I’m just not sure if we’re ready

 for that kinda thing, you know? The whole

love thing. I’m only 19. I just…I’m not ready

 for that. I’m sorry.” Once again I could

see the tears running across her face.

Suddenly I thought of the song “Two Tears”,

 for whatever strange reason. She took off

 running back towards the bus and

slammed the door behind her. Ouch.

“Zac…I –” Ike started, but I cut him off.

“I know what you’re gonna say! That

I’m a dad now, and I have to be responsible,

 and if I’m not ready for love by now, I’ve

got a serious problem.” I could feel the

soft, warm tears fill up in my eyes and

blur my vision.

“No, Zac, that’s not what we were

gonna say. We just want you to know

that we’re here for you man. We know

this is hard but, we can make it work.

Come on, let’s just forget about this for

now and get some food. I don’t know

about you, but I’m hungry.” Tay babbled,

 and starting walking along with Ike.

I had no choice but to follow. The truth

was, I definitely thought I could be ready

 to love someone. But I just didn’t love

Kate. Not like that. I caught up to Tay

and Ike. No one said a word until we

got to Burger King. I opened the door.

“Ladies first,” I laughed. They seemed

relieved that I was more relaxed now.

I think I was more relieved than they

were, though. My mind had been going

 crazy all day long. I followed them in

and, to our surprise, there was no line.

“Alright men, hoods up.” Ike chuckled.

The thing was, we never knew where there

 was gonna be a mob of fans, and right

now we had no body guard, so we wore

 hooded sweatshirts for exactly that

reason; so that we could put our hoods

 and be unnoticed. It’s considered

pretty dangerous to go out by ourselves.

 Why? I have no clue.

“Welcome to Burger King, and how may

I help you today sir?” the girl behind the

counter asked. Maybe I was seeing things

but she looked almost exactly like Kate,

 except she was about 2 feet shorter. Ike

 looked at me and I knew he was thinking

 the same thing about the cashier. We

looked at Tay and he nodded, laughing.

“Okay…let’s see, we’ll have a number 6,

 mayonnaise only, and…a number 1,

cheese and ketchup only, and…Ike?

What do you want?” I couldn’t move.

He’d said Ike’s name, and suddenly I

remembered why this girl looked so

much like Kate. I’d met her before, at

a meet-n-greet. She was one of those

fans that just get obsessed. I mean those

 ones who dedicate their whole life to

a band. Shit.

“Oh my god, did you say Ike?” the

cashier asked. My heart was pounding.

 Shit. Not here! Not when I was just getting

 relaxed!

“That is SO funny!!” the cashier said,

giggling. “That’s just like Isaac Hanson!

 You know, the oldest brother of Hanson?

 The ones who sang MMMBop? From

Oklahoma? Oh my gosh, I have to tell

Heather about this! That is so cool! Have

 you ever been mistaken for him?” She

rambled on and on.

“Listen, that’s really cool and everything,

 we’re fans too, but can we please just

get our food?” Tay cut in.

“Yeah, definitely. What was it you

wanted, Ike?” she giggled again.

“Just a number 2 will be fine. Everything

 on it.” Ike said stiffly. That was too close.

 Tay was gonna have to be more careful

about that. We got lucky this time. Not that

 normal fans are dangerous or anything,

but we prefer not to be seen in public

because of all the commotion it causes.

 Sometimes we just want to eat like normal

 people, you know? The cashier gave us

our cups and we went to fill them up. Dr.

Pepper, of course. I sat down at an empty

 table while we waited for our food.

Ike slid in across from me, and Tay right

 next to me.

“That was a little too close Tay,” I said,

 looking at him. He looked down and laughed.

“Yeah, but it was a little funny. Do

you guys ever remember getting

that way about famous people?” he

 replied. We all laughed, shaking our heads.

“Well, I know one thing. I’ll never be like

that as long as I live. But if I do, smack me!”

Ike added in. We laughed some more.

“Well, well, someone’s feeling much better,

huh?” Tay smiled.

“Yeah,” I nodded. “You were right.

This did me some good.”

“NUMBER 136!” someone called out.

“That’s us, I’ll go get it,” Tay offered.

He got up to go grab our tray of food,

then sat right back down.

“You know, Zac,” he said through a

 mouthful of fries, “Being a dad ain’t

so bad. It’s pretty cool, actually.” He

 swallowed and looked at me.

“Yeah, I know. It’s just, it was so unexpected

 and… I was planning on breaking up with

 Kate this week.” I explained.

“Yeah what’s with that, anyway?” Tay

 wondered.

“Well…it’s just not there for me anymore.

 To tell you the truth, she’s kind of getting

 on my nerves lately.” I laughed.

“Oh, so we weren’t the only ones,” Ike joked,

 punching me playfully in the arm. We all

got a laugh out of that one.

“I don’t know, man…that’s rough but,

you know you can’t leave her now,”

Taylor said seriously.

“No, really?” I opened up my food.

Ah, food. It doesn’t get pregnant, and

 it doesn’t say ‘I love you’.

“Sorry,” Tay breathed.

“No, don’t be…I just don’t want to talk

 about it, that’s all. Would you mind if

we talked about something else?”

“Nope,” Ike answered.

“Well what’s been with you today, Mr.

 Mysterious? You’ve been acting all

different today.” Taylor looked at Ike.

I didn’t think Taylor had even noticed

that, but I had since I’d waken up.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Ike

 mumbled. He was the worst liar in the

 world.

“Come on, you’ve been moping around

 all day long, what’s the deal?” I blurted

 out. He sighed and looked down at his food.

“I didn’t really want to tell anyone,” he

sighed again.

“Well too bad, you’re telling us now,”

Taylor laughed. Isaac smiled. He hadn’t

done much of that today.

“You can trust us, man,” I reassured.

“Well, you remember I went to the doctor

 last weekend? He said there’s a chance

that I’m developing…leukemia.” As soon as

 the words fell out of his mouth, I jumped up.

“Leukemia?! Isaac, that’s serious! How could

you not tell us about this?!” Tay yelled, outraged.

 Man, this day just kept getting better and better.

 Ike had his head in his hands again. Then he

took his hands away and smiled.

“Just kidding?” he chuckled. Tay and I

 both smacked him.

“That is not funny!” I shouted.

“God, you scared the hell out of us!”

Taylor sat back down, his face flushed

 and red.

“Sorry, guys, I couldn’t resist,” Ike said,

 still laughing to himself. At first I had no idea

why he would have done that. But then

it hit me, he was trying to cover up what

was really going on.

“Well, I’m done.” Ike announced as he

 got up to throw away his trash. I did

the same, with Taylor following. We

strutted out as the cashier waved

good bye, giggling still. It was bright

 outside, and the walk to the bus

seemed longer this time, even

without the uncomfortable silence.

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