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Chapter Nine

It was well past eight by the time the band finally decided that the song was done. Zacky set his guitar down with a sigh, flexing his fingers several times as he watched Matt do his thing on the computer, saving their demo files to a safe place. He’d not even finished backing them up by the time Johnny had cracked open a beer and downed half the bottle.

“Four down,” the bassist said proudly, “and...a ton more to go.”

He toasted to the empty air and took another long drink.

When Brian offered Zacky a bottle, Zacky declined. He had told Gena that he wouldn’t be late tonight, and if he started drinking now he was almost certain that he would be. Brian shrugged and dropped onto the couch beside him, setting the rejected bottle aside and drinking instead from his own. Arin set his drumsticks aside and stood, searching his pockets for his keys as he made his way out from behind the kit.

“I’m gonna head off,” he announced as he finally located them. “I told my mom I’d stop by before going home, and you know what she’s like.” He rolled his eyes before adding, “Everything still on for Saturday, Haner?”

It was the first week of April, and that meant birthdays in the Haner household. Zacky almost felt sorry for his friend, having to deal with his father, his wife and his sister-in-law all sharing the same birthday. But it gave them a good excuse to party, and that was the angle that Brian tried to see it from. Since the seventh was falling on a Tuesday that year, they were celebrating a few days early. Brian nodded.

“Everything’s still on,” he confirmed. “I expect you all to be there.” He eyed Zacky and added, “Including you.”

Zacky nodded. It had been Matt’s idea to use the party as a way to introduce Lysander to the rest of the family, but Zacky had yet to speak to the boy about it. He didn’t want to drag Lysander along if the poor kid didn’t want to go. But he also wanted his son to get to know all of his friends, at least to the point where he wouldn’t be uncomfortable when they all decided to drop by the house unexpectedly.

“I’ll be there,” Zacky assured him. “You know I will be.”

Brian nodded.

No sooner had Arin made his exit than Zacky decided to do the same, bidding his friends farewell until the weekend. He walked swiftly to his car, parked just a few houses down the street, and slid into its comfortable interior. The trip home wasn’t a particularly long one – he and Matt only lived a few blocks apart – but he always preferred to drive. There was much less chance of being stopped by a crazy fan if he was in his car, and it was always nice to have the BMW around in case an emergency came up. Especially now that he had a child he was supposed to be taking care of.

It was almost a quarter to nine by the time he made it into his house and kicked the door shut behind himself. As it always was when Gena was home, the entire place was spotless. Zacky tossed his keys into the bowl by the door and navigated his way into the living room, where he found his wife curled up on the couch with a glass of wine and one of her favourite soaps playing on the television.

“Hey, Gen,” he greeted her, smiling when she finally looked in his direction. “How was your day?”

“Fine. Dinner’s in the fridge if you’re hungry.”

He was starving. He hadn’t eaten since around two in the afternoon, when he and the guys had taken a break from writing and recording to order a stack of pizzas. He said a quick thank you and went to retrieve the food, which turned out to be Gena’s home-made lasanga. It was one of his favourites. His stomach growled in anticipation as he stuck it in the microwave to re-heat.

Gena joined him in the kitchen as he grabbed a fork from the draw. She took her usual seat at the table, directly opposite to where she knew he would sit, wineglass still in hand and a determined look on her face. Her actions told him that she had something she wanted to speak to him about, so he was quick to move his meal to the table when it was finally done. She gave him a few minutes to get started on it, to savour the taste before their conversation began. He would have to thank her for it later.

She watched him swallow a bite, took a sip from her glass, and then she started.

“Zacky, I want to have a baby.”

He sighed. He should have seen it coming, but he hadn’t. Lysander had been with them for less than a week. Zacky had thought it would take his wife a little while longer than that before she started on him again about having children, if she had started again at all. Evidently he’d been wrong.

“Gen,” he started.

“Don’t,” she quickly cut him off. “Don’t start with your goddamn excuses again.”

His excuses. I’m not ready for a child had always been his main one, but he knew he would never get away with using it again. He had a son now – indeed, he had two children – and ready or not, he’d had to learn to adapt quickly. But he still didn’t consider himself ready. He didn’t know if he ever would.

“You’re a father already,” Gena went on. “One more wouldn’t hurt.”

“Lysander’s a teenager,” Zacky said pointedly. “A baby would be different. Harder. A lot more work.”

“You wouldn’t have to do anything.”

“But I don’t want to be that guy,” he said forcefully, setting his fork down. He’d suddenly lost his appetite. “I don’t want to be the guy that sits back while his wife does all the work, Gen. If we were to start a family, I’d want to be involved. I’d want to be able to give it my all. And right now, I can’t do that. The guys and I are in the middle of working on an album-”

“Brian seems to be doing fine,” she huffed.

“-and I have Lysander to worry about,” he added. “Lysander, and Dakota. You wanted children – well, now we’ve got them.”

“They’re your children,” she shot back. “Lysander is your son.”

“And you’re my wife. That makes you his step-mother at the very least. If you’d just get to know each other a little more...”

“He’ll never see me as anything more.” She almost snarled the words at her husband. “I’ll never be his mother in his eyes!”


“What is it?” she asked, and in her eyes flashed hurt as opposed to anger. “Do you not love me enough to want to do this?”

He pushed his plate to the side and reached across the table, taking her hand from the stem of the wineglass so that he could clasp it within his own. She kept her head lowered, but he could see the fresh tears swimming in her beautiful blue eyes. It broke his heart to know that he was the cause of them.

“Gena Kathleen,” he said softly, rubbing his thumb in a circular motion over the back of her hand. “I love you. I have always loved you. I always will love you. And I do want to have a family with you. I just...” He licked his lips, choosing his words carefully before he spoke them. “I just need some time. A few more weeks, to come to terms with everything that’s going on and just let it settle.” He reached out, tilting her chin up so that her eyes moved to meet his. “Can you give me that? Just a few more weeks?”

There was silence between them as she considered. In the absence of conversation Zacky could hear nothing more or less than the second hand of the clock making its rotation from across the room and the cars that were driving up and down the Pacific Coast Highway several streets away. Gena sniffed, and for a moment he was convinced that she would start the argument up again.

“A few more weeks,” she repeated. “I think I can do that.”

He pressed his lips to hers gently, a quick kiss of thanks. She smiled back at him as she moved her hand once more to the wineglass, but it never quite reached her eyes. A few weeks, Zacky silently promised, and he would make sure she was happy again.

She finished her wine in silence before rinsing her glass and leaving it on the sink to dry. Zacky finished off the last few bites of his dinner, knowing that he would hate to see it go to waste more than anything, and cleaned the plate in much the same fashion. After that it went into the dishwasher.

“I’m gonna head up and take a shower,” she said as he turned the machine on, telling it to clean the dishes that had accumulated in it over the day. “Would you like to join me?”

“I’ll be right up.”

He watched her walk towards the stairs with a slight swing in her hips, and knew that – for the moment, at least – things were going to be all right between them.

He downed a glass of water before finally following her up the stairs.

He was half way to the bathroom when he made the decision to stop just outside Lysander’s open door, figuring that there would be no harm in checking in on the boy. Lysander himself was sprawled out on the bed, working on homework by the look of things. He had a textbook lying open to his left and a notebook in front of him. He absently twirled his pen between his fingers as he read from the former of the two.

He looked up when he felt Zacky’s eyes on him.

“Hey,” he said easily, setting the pen down. “How was practice?”

“Fine. How was school?”

“Same as always. Teachers try to teach, students try not to fall asleep.”

Zacky grinned. It was nice to know that school hadn’t changed much since he had left all those years ago. He bit down on his lower lip, once again missing the piercings that had once been there. He pushed the thought to the back of his mind and pressed on. There was something that he needed to talk to his son about before he joined his wife.

“Brian’s having a party this weekend,” he said quickly, drawing Lysander’s attention back to him as the boy made to look back to his homework. “It’s a joined early birthday party for a couple of people. It’ll just be close friends and family there.” He lent against the doorframe, assessing the boy’s reaction. So far, Lysander hadn’t done anything besides stop twirling the pen in his hand. Taking it as a good sign, Zacky continued. “I was hoping you’d come along and meet everybody. Get to know them a little. I can only hold them off for so long.” He shrugged. “But only if you want to, of course. Don’t think I’m forcing you.”

Lysander seemed to consider for several moments. Zacky could almost see the thoughts whirling behind the boy’s blue eyes, thinking things through before he chose to answer. He waiting patiently, entirely uncertain of what his son’s answer would be. Whilst he hoped that it would be an affirmative, he couldn’t rule out the possibility that Lysander would decline the invitation and prefer to hideout at home instead. And he wouldn’t blame the boy for it in the slightest. The meeting with his mother had been one thing; meeting almost the entire extended Avenged Sevenfold family would be something else entirely.

“All right,” Lysander said at long last. “I’ll come.”

“You’re sure?”

The boy nodded.

Zacky smiled. He didn’t know why he ever doubted the child, because Lysander never failed to amaze him when it came to dealing with situations where running and hiding would have been the easier option.

“Saturday,” he told the boy as he straightened himself. “I’ll give you fair warning before we have to leave the house.”


With a nod Zacky turned to go, but he stopped when his eye caught something on the bedside dresser that he knew hadn’t been there before. He focused on it – on both of them. Two photographs, he realised. One of Dakota, and one of a woman. His eyes locked onto the latter and he found himself staring.

“Is that your mother?”

Lysander followed Zacky’s line of sight, silently nodding when he saw where the man was looking. He turned back to Zacky at once, a new look of curiosity in his eyes.

“Do you remember her?”

Samantha Maverick.

He put the picture and the name together in his mind, hoping that having both parts of the puzzle would somehow open the door that he’d been knocking at since discovering he had two children. But nothing happened. No spark of recognition. No sudden memory of that one night, so long ago. There was nothing.

“No,” he said. “I don’t remember her.”

And it deeply troubled him.

He left Lysander to finish his homework, making the rest of the journey to the bathroom with a million thoughts running through his own head. At the forefront of it all was the guilt – the guilt over not being able to remember the woman who had mothered his children, who had raised them on her own for fifteen years. It made him feel downright horrible. Perhaps his mother had been right to judge him.

He could hear the shower already running from behind the closed bathroom door. Gena, he knew, was probably already standing under the stream. He stepped inside and shut the door behind him, locking it with the easy turn of a single knob. Gena already had towels hung for them on the hooks attached to the back of it. He could see his wife through the frosted glass that separated the shower from the rest of the room, under the stream of water just as he had known she would be. He took a moment simply to admire her shape from where he stood.

He would never forget her. Could never forget her. Not in a million years. He loved her far too much for that to ever happen. But did that make up for all the others that he had forgotten? Did it matter that he couldn’t remember them if he’d never loved them in the first place?

He stripped. First to go was his shirt, which he balled up and threw into the hamper without a second thought. His jeans and boxers followed soon after, with his hastily kicked-off shoes being shoved safely into the corner. He stuck his cell phone inside one of them, hoping that this would keep it safe enough for the moist air filling the room. He slipped in to join his wife, sliding the glass door shut even as she turned to face him. He moved closer to her at once, joining her under the heated stream and taking her into his arms. Almost instinctively their lips came together.

His hands wandered to her hips; her hands moved to his hair. He pulled her somehow even closer when she moaned into his mouth, warming him from the inside out. His lips moved to her jaw and to her throat, trailing kisses all the way down as she sighed and breathed his name against his ear. Her hands moved to his back as he went back to kissing her lips, and he felt her dig her nails into the pale flesh of his back. He let out a moan of his own.

She gave a little gasp when her back met the cold tiles of the wall, but it wasn’t too long before she forgot her discomfort and the little sounds she emitted became those of pleasure.

It was moments like these that Zacky missed the most when he was away on tour. He missed not spending time alone with his wife, and he missed not being able to please her. Of course he missed the sex, and he knew that she did too, but it was the little things that really made it. The way that she pressed her neatly manicured nails into his skin; the way she bit down on her lower lip as she approached her climax. The taste of her, the feel of her against him. The way she sighed against him when they were both done. It was the little things that he loved, the little things that he always missed the most.

He pressed another kiss to her lips before they turned the shower off and stepped out. Gena wrapped herself up quickly, determined as always not to drip water all over the floor. Zacky took his time, chuckling as she gave him her usual look of indignation. In his opinion, there were drains on bathroom floors for a reason.

“Honestly, Zachary,” she said. But a smile tugged at the corners of her lips all the same.

Zacky wrapped the towel around his waist and took up his shoes. Gena opened the door cautiously and peered around into the hallway before stepping out of the bathroom, a much needed reminder to Zacky that they now had a minor in the house and couldn’t just walk out of the room wearing so little. That was definitely going to take some getting used to.

He locked the door again once they were in their own room, thankful at least that he was already used to doing this. He had learned the importance of keeping the doors within his own house locked after Johnny had barged in on him and Gena one morning, and it wasn’t something he would be forgetting in a hurry.


I read this here, I read this at Mibba. I'm just obsessed with this story! I love it!
Nia_Flores Nia_Flores
Update! Soon! Please!
I can't help reading this twice. I love it! LOVE IT!!!
Nia_Flores Nia_Flores
I read this on Mibba & I re-read it here! It's really great.
Nia_Flores Nia_Flores
Update soon or i will DIE