When I got back to the hotel, Kate had
already been and gone. I wondered if she’d
said anything to anyone. I slipped the key
in and opened the door. The room was empty.
Where was everyone? Suddenly my cell
phone started ringing on the bed. I’d
forgotten to take it with me. I walked over
and picked it up. It was Tay.
“Hey, Zac, we’re down at the pool, so…come
down, alright?” he hung up without even
waiting for an answer. After a few minutes
of thinking, I finally gave up and just
decided to head down and meet them.
I slid off my shirt along with my jeans and
boxers, and pulled on my black trunks.
Ooh, that was cold. Like the rush of icy cold
air that hits you after a blanket of snow has
laid itself overnight. How could they be wet?
That’s when I noticed that the bathtub I
had taken them out of was drenched.
Someone had turned on the water, I supposed.
Oh, well. I shut the door a little hard on
my way out. Hopefully no one in the hotel
was sleeping at the moment. I found the
pool pretty quickly.
”Hey, Zac, over here!” I heard Taylor shout.
He was lounging in the Jacuzzi with Natalie
and Ike. Ezra rested on Natalie’s lap. They
looked so happy, as if there was nothing in
the world that could ever cause them to worry.
I sat there watching them for a moment.
“Hey, you gonna sit there and stare at us all
night, or join us?” Ike laughed. I smiled, and
made my way to the Jacuzzi. But, unknowingly
to me, water had sloshed across the floor,
and as I strutted along, I slipped and fell right
on my face. I could hear everyone trying to
muffle their laughter. They all got out and came
to see if I was alright. They weren’t sure if
they should laugh or not, depending on my
mood about it. I looked around and smiled,
letting that smile grow into a fit of laughter
as they laughed along with me. When that
died down we all let ourselves fall into
the steaming, bubbling hot water. It felt so
good to finally feel a little relaxed. I closed
my eyes and listened to the rest of them talk.
It was one of those moments where it’s like
your not even there, just watching it happen
on a movie screen or on TV. Opening my
eyes, I bit my lip.
“I sent Kate back.” Everyone went silent,
just sat there and stared. No one knew
what to do or what to say.
“To the U.S.?” Natalie finally asked. Nodding,
I blinked a couple times.
“I think that will be good for you…you don’t
need to put up with that bullshit,” Tay
comforted. If that wasn’t the truth I don’t
know what was. I’d put up with a lot from
Kate for too long now.
“Hey Zac, you wanna sauna?” Ike offered.
I took him up on it and followed to the enclosed
room, knowing he wasn’t just wanting a nice
healthy sweat for old time’s sake. He wanted
to talk. That was good, though...he seemed
to be the only person I could talk to after
“So…” he mumbled. I laughed at his nerdy
attempt to be subtle. He knew and I knew
that we were both here to talk.
“Listen…I should have seen this coming.”
I started. “Lately I’ve been thinking…and
how could I even imagine that if she hurt
you, she wouldn’t turn around and do the
exact same thing to me?” A smile crept
up on Ike’s face.
“Yeah, she is kinda that way, isn’t she?” he
chuckled. Yeah, that was Kate for you:
a lean, mean, heart-breaking machine.
“I guess I just feel sorry for the next guy
she goes after,” I joked.
“Well at least we can be sure it won’t be
Tay,” Ike added. We both got a laugh out of that.
“I’m really sorry man,” I confessed.
“Why?” he looked confused.
“Come on, you know. I still can’t believe
I ever got together with her after what she
did to you…I feel horrible.” I looked at
him strongly, waiting for an answer.
“Got together with who?” he asked. Smiling,
I gave him a one of those brotherly – love
kind of hugs. The kind you would see on
“Don’t mention it,” Ike laughed, making one
of those lame gunshot hand gestures. He was
such a nerd…I loved it. It was nice to just
kick back with him like this sometimes.
He always knew how to make me laugh
when I really wanted to cry. I guessed that’s
what brothers were there for. Oh, great. Now
I was talking like Full House, too.