Christmas Time

03 - For You to Say You Love Me - Kimberly

Chapter 1

The sizzle of the match as it burst into a single flame. He watched it for a moment, let it burn just a bit, then brought it to the tip of his left-handed cigarette. He breathed in through it. Sweet.

He passed it to the girl to his left. She took a puff and passed it on. It went around their little circle of six people coming back to him ocasionally.

He looked up from where he sat in peaceful bliss. The trees above him were all but bare, the winter obvious to him.

Passed to him again, the final drag. He flicked the remains of the joint into a pile of wet leaves. "Anyone got another one?"

Shaking heads. He got up from his spot. "Well, let's go over to Mike's house and watch a movie."

Six teenagers, all high on life and marijuana, walked out of the forest and down the street without a care.

Zachary Hanson gazed out the window. He had hoped that one of his brothers would be back by now. But they were not. Instead, Isaac was staying for dinner at his girlfriend, Krystle's house. Taylor had called to say that he would be spending the night at Mike's house.

Zac knew what that meant. Taylor was too high to come home. He wished that he knew how to help him out.

A voice from the other room. "Zac! Dinner."

He tore his gaze from the unchanging scene beyong the amorphous glass of the window and entered the dining room. It was there that he drowned his sorrows in macaroni and cheese, the real kind, not the kind from the box.

"Ike, aren't you going to eat your potatoes?" Krystle asked from his left.

He trembled a bit. It was now or never. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small jewelry box. He opened it and pushed it toward Krystle. Then he said four words that would change his life forever. "Will you marry me?"

She gasped and dropped her fork onto her plate. She grabbed the ring and slid it on the ring finger of her left hand. Perfect.

He gazed at her affectionately. "Can I take this as a yes?"

She smiled widely behind happy tears. "You can. I love you."

A few sniffles and a snort were heard. The sniffles were from Krystle's parents, the snort was from her younger sister, Melyssa.

Happiness filled him; the warmth of love.

Taylor Hanson stumbled into the living room of Mike Prescott. "Man. I should not have had the first and last drag."

A girl of about 15 lay naked but for a bra on the floor. "Why not? Think I'm a hallucination? Well, you can have me if you want."

He couldn't exactly see straight when she agily got to her hands and knees and strutted over to him. He couldn't say no as she trailed kisses up his leg landing where he wanted them most. He couldn't stand it as she slowly unbuttoned and unzipped his pants.

He quickly disrobed and then tore her bra off. He then lifted her up with strength he didn't know he had. He scoured the room with glazed eyes for a place to do this. A wide grin formed on his face as he noted the pale blue recliner in the corner.

He lay the girl down, not knowing her name or caring what it was, spreading her legs wide. He pulled the lever to recline the chair. A low moan escaped her throat. He smiled and lowered himself onto her.

Upon penetration she gasped in obvious pleasure and delight. Gently, he began to rock his hips against her, feeling her give into the rhythm with her downstroke at the perfect time.

He quickened his pace and she quickly followed suit. She had experience. She'd be every horny guys best friend because of that. That thought rocketed into his mind as she arched her back and increased the intensity of her downswing.

He was to the point where orgasm seemed like death to a person with a horible life. He didn't just want it, he needed it and would achieve it any way he could. Each time his pelvis came close to her thighs and she rocked her hips was like a quick fix for a junkie. It was heaven when your current residence was a permanent hell.

He felt a final stroke. That was all he needed. He released his seed into her. At that she screamed out in pleasure. She had achieved orgasm as well.

He pulled himself from her, dripping wet. She grinned. "That was fun. We'll have to do it again sometime."

He only nodded. He was tired now; his buzz was completely gone. He only wanted sleep; maybe with the aid of a legal drug.

Isaac had come home after an hour or two with a smile on his face and a spring in his step. Zachary had tried to get Isaac psyched for a rousing game of Cruisin' U.S.A., but Ike hadn't taken the bait.

Zac sat down in a small chair by the living room window. The sun was shining brightly outside. It was practically calling his name. Without giving it a second thought he grabbed his Rollerblades and headed out the door.

He sat down on the porch steps and strapped on his blades. He didn't bother with pads or a helmet. He figured on going only up and down the steet, maybe around the block. He felt that he had no reason to wear protective anything, let alone those dorky-looking things.

He wandered out of the neighborhood somehow and didn't bother heading right back. The sun that shone upon him was too inviting. It kept drawing him further from home.

He wasn't exactly sure which street he was on. He didn't even know his relative location. He spun around and skated backward while trying to place himself. A moment later, his feet slipped out from underneath him and darkness arrived.

Isaac, you're one lucky man.

He was happy to be engaged, especialy to the one who was carrying his first child.

He had turned 18 only a few weeks ago. Krystle was not yet 17. He had already gotten permission from her parents as well as the graces of his own.

They had a steady relationship. They had gone on their first date in the summer of 1993. They had been all but inseparable since then.

A few months ago, on the fifth anniversary of their first date, they had made love. A month later he found out that Krystle was pregnant.

She carried it quite well. It wasn't showing but her parents knew. She had told them as soon as she suspected it, let alone knew. They hadn't been against it either. They said that marriage is only to bind you togeher legally. Love for your spouse and love for your child or children bind you together in every other way.

He hugged a picture of Krystle to his chest and began humming a beautiful melody. Love is a wonderful thing.

Chapter 2

He awoke the next morning to a doorbell ringing. He stumbled over to the door and opened it. A girl stood there. She began to speak. "Hi! My name is Saralynn and I'm selling candy for the Union High School fundraiser and ohmigod, Taylor Hanson is standing naked in front of me."

He blinked and looked down. "Yeah, I guess so. What kind of candy is that?"

She mumbled a bit while gazing at his bare flesh. "Chocolate. With or without nuts."

He opened the door a bit more. "Come on in. Let me find my wallet and I'll buy one or two."

She stumbled through the door. He walked over to the couch and found his pants. He got his wallet out of the back pocket and walked over to Saralynn. She was staring at something. He turned to look.

He was greeted with the view of a naked girl on a pale blue recliner. He blushed a bit and stumbled over his words. "She's just, um, uh, well...."

Saralynn turned to him and grinned widely. "I know who she is and what you did. Her name is Elizabeth Joule. I'm guessing you fucked her last night."

He moved to talk but stopped to swallow his saliva. He said quietly, "Uh, yeah. I did."

She smiled a bit more. "You're not the only one. She's a good friend of mine. Even though you've fucked her, I know her better than you ever will. So, what about that candy? What kind do you want?"

He opened his wallet and withdrew two crisp dollar bills which he promptly handed to Saralynn. "I'll tell you what. I'll take one plain for me and you pick one for you. You're too skinny. You need it."

Her eyes roamed his body again. "You're calling me skinny? Heh heh. How funny. But, I guess I'll take you up on your offer. I like nuts, so I'll take one with them."

He shut his eyes for a moment as a shiver went up his spine. The way that she said that. He opened his eyes when she coughed and said, "Nice to know Little Taylor, who isn't so little, is waking up."

He blushed as he grew hard under her gaze. "Um, it was just the way you said that. It was, uh..."

She stepped closer to him a trailed a finger down his chest, exciting him even further. "Uh. Um. Enough skirting the issue. Get to the point."

He gulped air like vodka. "Would you go out with me Friday night?"

She smiled. "Sure. Meet you in front of the Cineplex at 7PM. How about that?"

He nodded. She picked up her candy and walked out the door.

The pain shot through him. Everything hurt when he merely lay still and it practically killed him to move anything. He couldn't see.

Well, duh. Open your eyes, stupid! But he still saw only darkness. It scared the hell out of him.

He felt something warm slide down the back of his neck. He knew exactly what it was, so he didn't bother to hurt himself even more to touch the blood that ran from his head.

Before he could do so much as call out for help, he blacked out.

Isaac lay in bed daydreaming about his wedding day. In his mind, that day, as well as all of the days before and after it, was perfect.

The phone rang, taking him away from his reverie. He stumbled out of his bed and rushed over to the phone. "Hello?"

"Isaac, honey, I've got something to tell you."

Krystle, of course. "Yes, dear?"

She spoke in a wavering voice. "Um, well you know I'm pregnant. So, that's not going to be a shock to you. But, what I'm about to say might be, so please sit down."

He cradled the receiver in the crook of his neck and sat on Taylor's bed. "Yes, hon?"

She took a deep breath. "I'm pregnant and it might not be yours."

He took a deep breath and collapsed against the wall. He tried to remain calm. "Not mine, huh? Then who's?"

She tentatively spoke. "I can't tell you exactly, but you know him."

Each word was a punch in the stomach. He trembled in confusion and anger. After a moment he said, "Krystle, give me a few days to think about this. It's," he glanced at the clock, "5:00PM on Tuesday night. If I haven't called you back by this time Friday, the engagement is off. Bye now."

He hung up the phone and collapsed into strong hands to help support his heavy mind. Where had things gone wrong?

He lay down on the bed and thought. It was the only thing he could do at the time.

Chapter 3

He searched through his closet for a suitable outfit. It was 6PM Tuesday evening and he was planning for his date that Friday. What kind of guy was he?

A dorky one, that's what kind. He stopped his futile search and went over to lie down on his bed. As soon as his head hit the pillow, the phone rang.

He sighed. He didn't want to answer the phone, but no one else was home. They had all gone out to eat. He had stayed home stating that he didn't feel well. He got up slowly and answered the phone formally. "Hello. You've reached the Hanson residence. With whom would you like to speak?"

A chipper, female voice on the other end of the line replied with equal formality. "May I speak with Mr. or Mrs. Hanson, please?"

"I'm sorry. They're not available at this time. I'm their son, Taylor. May I take a message?"

"I guess so. This is Hailey Pearl over at Tulsa General. Your brother, Zachary, was brought in earlier this evening."

Up to this point, Taylor had been the doting message taker, but now he dropped the pen he was writing with. "Zac? What happened?"

"Sir, I'm afraid I'm needed elsewhere. Tell your parents and have them come down here as soon as possible. Your brother is in a coma."

Taylor dropped the phone and fell to the floor in a heap of skin, bones and dark clothing. Damn whoever or whatever had done this.

Zachary Hanson lay in a hospital bed with tubes seemingly protruding from within him and bandages covering a large portion of his body.

He couldn't see and had little to no control over his bodily functions. Cool! This is what it's like to be unconscious!

That thought quickly diminished as he realized the situation. He was in a coma. He heard something to his left. Crying.

Instinct told him that it was one of his family members, but it couldn't be. None of them cried like that. He couldn't tell much from what he heard, but he could tell that the person crying was female. A young female.

"Isaac, please pick up. I've got to talk to you."

He erased Krystle's message from the answering machine with confusion. He didn't know what to do.

He had come home to find Tay sitting on the floor. Tay told him about Zac being in the hospital. His parents had gone to the hospital to see about Zac, while he and Taylor were stuck at home babysitting.

He collapsed in front of the television. He hoped the mindlessness of it all would make him feel better.

"Zac, what the hell did you do to yourself? What happened, man?"

Taylor Hanson sat in a small chair by his brother's bedside. It was about 7AM the day after the phone call. This hospital made him uncomfortable, but he wanted to see Zac. Damn this. I need something to calm me down.

He glanced over at his younger brother, but he had not moved since the last time he had looked. Nothing he could say would elicit a response.

He stood up and walked out of the room. He didn't want to have to deal with this. He continued walking until he was out of the hospital and about a block down the street. It was there that he sat down on a small bench.

Where to now? He smiled a bit. Mike. He would have something. He always did. He stood up and headed on his way.

The darkness was getting on his nerves. Taylor had left a moment earlier. Probably to go get high, he thought sarcastically. He heard a few sobs. That girl was back again.

She spoke this time. "I'm sorry."

She walked over to his bed and stroked his hand. "Zac, I am so sorry. It's all my fault."

He knew that voice. Damn, he knew it, but he couldn't place it. This girl, if only he could see her. Blind as he was, he knew her deep down. If only he could bring to mind that knowledge.

Krystle had called several times. He dared not call her back. He didn't know yet if he would forgive her, but he knew he loved her. He wouldn't tell her yet, though.

Isaac Hanson lay down to think and rest. Krystle was probably the most faithful girl in the world. It was completely abnormal for her to do something like this. Normally, if something happened, she would tell him right away.

Obviously, that hadn't happened this time. She just blurted out to him that she had slept around during their relationship. Unless.....

She could have been raped. That thought echoed through his mind. If she had been raped, then the kid might not be his. She could also have an STD, or two, or three. Had it happened before or after the night they made love?

Forget about it for now. He decided to sleep on it for a night. If he had any doubt about his newfound theory in the morning, he wouldn't call Krystle until the last minute, but if he was sure, he would call her immediately and apologize.

Sleep came that night, but not as easily as he would have hoped.

Chapter 4

He knocked on the door. A moment later, someone answered. It was not Mike, but it was someone he knew.

"Elizabeth Joule. What are you doing answering Mike's door in a bathrobe?"

She laughed, "Taylor, you should know. I did the same thing with you the night before you answered this very door to meet Saralynn and you were wearing a lot less than this. Want to come in?"

He nodded and stepped inside the house. "Funny. Do you know what Mike has today?"

She knew exactly what he meant. "Well, he's got some fantasy, X-tasy, heroin...."

He cut her off. "You can call me a junkie, but I only do weed and pills. Does he have any muscle relaxers?"

She shrugged. "Probably. Mike always has something fo everyone. Me? I only do opium occasionally, maybe drink something. I always get my fix from Mike, though."

"Same here. You think he's dressed now?"

She shrugged again and walked down the hallway to Mike's bedroom. She pushed open the door and walked in. "Mike, Taylor wants a few muscle relaxers. You got any?"

Mike lay on the bed. He reached down to the floor and picked up a box. He set it on his stomach and opened it. From within it, he pulled out a small bag of tiny, white pills. "Here ya go, Tay. I'm getting more today, and these aren't selling too well this time of year, so you can have them all."

Taylor eyed the bag cautiously, then not so much. There were at least 30 pills in there. "Mike, you are such a good friend. You dating Elizabeth?"

Mike chuckled. "Where did that come from? I'm not dating her, we're just friends."

"You fuck your friends?"

Elizabeth spoke up. "Sure he does. I offer, he accepts. I like to take care of my friends. I like to make them happy."

"Even Saralynn?"

"Well, not in the same way, but she's one of my best friends. I'm close with Isaac's girlfriend, Krystle, her sister, Melyssa. So is Saralynn and even Jay."

Jay. He couldn't quite remember her. Wait a minute, that was the girl who always sat to his left when they went into the woods. Yeah, she was cool. "So, the five of you are like best friends?"

"Well, yeah. We met about a year ago. We've been inseparable since then."

Taylor could only nod and say, "Cool."

He had long since come to hate the darkness that surrounded him constantly. It was as though the darkness had become afraid of him and was trying to hurt him, in self-defense almost.

The girl had come back many times. He knew that one of her nicknames was "Monkey". He just didn't know her yet.

Every time that she had come, she had spoken to him, sung to him, took the blame for what had happened. What exactly did happen?

Oh yeah. He'd been skating backward with no helmet or pads and had somehow slipped on something and fallen. He must have gotten a concussion and gone into a coma or something.

He could feel himself getting better, though. He knew that sometime soon he could pull out of this. Whoever this girl was.... She was helping him pull through.

If she wasn't around, he would probably be bored to death. She was there at least 11 hours a day just talking, reading aloud or turning on the radio and singing along. She was the perfect companion for him in his current state. I wonder what she looks like. Do I really know her?

He hoped he would not have to wonder much longer.

Several times that day, he had reached for the phone and had begun to dial Krystle's number. At the time, he didn't want to call her, but the final time was approaching much sooner than he would have liked, but also not soon enough.

Despite his better judgement, he picked up the phone, dialed the all-too-familiar number, and let it ring.

Chapter 5

The feeling that rushed over him was so amazing. The relaxation that he was experiencing was like none other that he had before.

Taylor was currently walking down the road downing muscle relaxers like potato chips. They filled him with such joy. Now, as he walked down the road, everything was still except for him. The stoned blond boy didn't know that he was walking in the middle of the road with cars passing by quickly on both sides of him.

He only stopped walking when he reached into the bag to get another muscle relaxer and there weren't anymore. He looked down at the bag and shook it then turned it upside down. Tay fell to the ground when it became apparant that there were no more.

Everything started to spin as the ground got nearer. His eyes closed and darkness became his shadow and savior.

He spent the time that she wasn't there trying to figure out who the hell she was. He spent the time she was there merely enjoying her company. Zac knew he was closer to getting out of his coma and he knew that it was all because of her.

Every time he heard her voice, Zac felt a little closer to the world that surrounded, but did not include, him. When she said goodbye, it didn't make him feel alone. It left him fulfilled.

She was spending time with him that she didn't have to. He wanted out of this coma so that he could tell her that it wasn't her fault. He wanted to convince her that he loved her because of the things she had said, the fact that she was there more often than the total amount of time that his family was there.

He wanted to hold her. To kiss her. He wanted to know her name. He didn't care what she looked like. He just wanted to know her.


Her voice was music to his ears. "Krystle? It's Isaac. Do you have time to talk?"

She let out a breath into the telephone. "Yeah, sure. What's up?"

He pushed his hair back and began. "Krys, I can't believe I've put you through this. I'm a stupid idiot sometimes. I don't care if it's not my kid and that you fooled around with some other guy. I mean, I care, but not enough to end this wonderful relationship. I still want to marry you and I want to raise that kid with you, whether it's mine or not."

He heard a happy sob eminate from the reciever. "Isaac, there's something that I have to tell you."

He bit his lip in anticipation.

The pain he had when he awoke was nauseating. So nauseating, that he turned his head and let loose with a tremendous Technicolor yawn. Having purged some toxins from his system, he opened his eyes.

Saralynn stood by his head shaking stomach acid from her shirt. He sat up and hurridly said, "Damnit! I'm so sorry. Let me...."

She shook her head. "Taylor, no. You're in the hospital and you just had your stomach pumped. Apparantly you ODed on some drug or other. Y'know, I never would have bothered with you had I known you were a damn druggie."

"What? You can't mean that!"

"The hell I don't. I hate drugs!" Then in a softer voice,"They killed my father."


"How the hell do you think? Drugs kill you no matter how careful you are. Snort a grain of cocaine one night, you could still be dead from it the next morning."

"You can?" This was news to him.

"Hell yeah you can. Please tell me you'll go to rehab. If not, then goodbye. If so, then we'll go out on a date after you get out. K?"

The tear that ran down her cheek made his decision obvious. "Of course. Anything for you."

She walked over to him and kissed his forehead. "Thank you. I only wish my father had said the same. By the way, I'm here because you collapsed just as my mom and I were driving by."

He opened his mouth to speak, but stopped as she pulled her shirt over her head revealing that she was a typical Hanson fan and had not been wearing a bra. His eyes were riveted to her chest.

She lifted her arms above her head and arched her back in a languid stretch, knowing full well that he was watching. She let her arms fall to her sides and bit her lip shyly noticing that the blanket had risen a bit around his lap.

"Why did you do that?" he asked with shock in his eyes.

"Well, I've got to wash my shirt off. Besides, this is just an incentive to make sure that you follow through with your promise. I'm looking forward to our date."

He muttered, "Me too," as she walked half-naked into the bathroom to wash his stomach acid off of her shirt. He lay back and let out shaky breaths thinking of only her.

"Zac, how can I tell you how sorry I am? It's all my fault," she said, obviously in emotional pain.

He had to stop her from doing this. He took a deep breath and fought through the fog that held him in this darkness.

Every time he felt a little closer to the real world, it pushed him back, almost teasingly. He pushed harder. The fog began to clear. He could her the girl saying, "If only I hadn't left that oil there. You would be all right."

He reached up and pulled the oxygen mask from his face. "It's not your fault."

She gasped. He opened his eyes, but the darkness still prevailed.

"This child inside me... It is yours. I know I said it wasn't, but it is. I knew you loved me but I had to make sure that something stupid wouldn't pit us against one another. I love you more than I love life itself and I could never let another man touch me like that when I have that knowledge."

"Krystle..... Can I come over?"

"Please do. I've missed you so much. I've wanted to tell you this for so long, but I had to make sure. I'm sorry."

"Don't be sorry. Or if you want to be sorry, wait 'til I get there, and we can be sorry together. Okay?"

"Sure. I'll be waiting."

"Okay. C'ya then."


He hung up the phone and headed to get his coat. He missed her so much.

Chapter 6

The withdrawl had hit that morning while he was eating a breakfast consisting of cold eggs and toast. There was some orange juice, but due to the fact that it smelled more like puke than oranges, he decided that he'd live on water.

He needed those drugs. That was the message his body was trying to convey. His brain was trying to tell him the same message, but it also kept showing him his stored mental image of Saralynn. He wanted her so badly that any discomfort didn't phase him as long as he thought of her. She wouldn't get him through this, but she would certainly be a good thing to have around.


"Yeah. Why can't I see?"

"I... I don't know. Do you want me to get a doctor in here?"

"Yeah, but first, come over here."

She moved closer and placed her hand on his. He carefully felt her face, memorizing the smooth feeling of her skin. "Who are you?"

"Why do you care?"

"Because I love you."

"You can't love me. You barely know me."

"I came out of that coma because of you. Because I need you."

"You don't need me, you need a doctor. I think you got a concussion or something. I'll go get Doctor Sampson."

"But wait..."

He felt her pull away just as one of her tears rolled onto his hand. He lay back on his bed and pondered the darkness and her name.

He drove through the dark night with a purpose. He needed to see Krystle. His love for her was killing him because he couldn't express it at the moment.

It was that love that blinded him from seeing through that dark night to the car without any headlights on that was swerving it's way down the road directly in front of him.

He couldn't see the picture in front of him, just the big picture. It was for that reason that later that night he arrived in the same hospital that both of his brothers were in.

"Taylor, I want you to tell me why you turned to drugs in the first place."

He was seeing a therapist. The things he went through for her. "Well, I don't know. It was just something I tried one night, and it made me feel good."

"Who made you try it?"



"Me. Peer pressure doesn't work unless you give in. Well, I was too willing to give in. A friend of mine asked if I wanted to try some, and I said yes."

"Good. Talk it out. Tell me about your drug abuse."

"My drug abuse. There's not much to tell. I'd get together with friends. They would have drugs. I'd ask if I could have some. They would normally say yes. No one really pushed me to it, I just kept saying yes. But, now I need to learn how to say no again."

"Good, Taylor. Very good."


"Who's there?"

"Hi. I'm Doctor Sampson."

He heard a swish, as though the doctor was holding up his hand to shake. "You do know that I can't see you, right?"

"I wasn't aware of that. But, now that I know, I'll write it on your report."

"My report?"

"Our little list on a clipboard. We're tracking your condition. Nothing much to write in the past few days. We're glad you're back with us."

"Glad to be back, but I wasn't really gone. You of all people should know that people can hear during comas. Besides, all I saw then was darkness, now it's the same thing. Only difference is, now I can communicate with the people around me."

"So I see. Well, I've got to run now. I'll be back later to run a few tests on you. Okay?"

"Okay, just one thing. Can you tell me who the girl was who was here all the time?"

"Yeah, I can. Melyssa Smith. Is she your girlfriend?"

"No. Just my true love."

The doctor laughed. "Get some sleep if you can. We'll tire you out with those tests otherwise."


He closed his eyes and tried to stop thinking. That was the only way it would be different than all the time he had been awake.

He knew Krystle was waiting for him. She was probably in pain from the wait. But he'd been in an accident and was now lying on an operating room table trying to think through the fog that clouded his mind.

He knew enough about hospitals that because of who he was, they would only have the best doctors working on him. But even the best doctors don't always make their patients live.

Chapter 7

His therapist said that he was showing a lot of progress already. Duh! I don't want to be a damn junkie. That's why. I used to love it, but if she hates it, so do I.

Saralynn had been by to see him. She had said that he looked better; that had made his day. He didn't like this place, but he knew it was good for him. Saralynn couldn't love him until he was better, and he couldn't get better without this place.

He tried to tell himself that he loved Saralynn, that it wasn't just a physical thing, but he wasn't so sure. Sometimes his mind played tricks on him; made him feel things that weren't neccesarily true things. Maybe now he hated drugs almost as much as her, but he still craved them.

He had winced with every movement. They had gotten him out of bed so that he could move around. He couldn't see where he was going and kept bumping into things no matter how hard the people in the room tried to guide him.

He hated this with a passion that he wished to turn towards Melyssa. He only knew her as a name. He knew the name, but couldn't connect it with the rest of his life yet. How he hated this.

He woke up, not knowing that he had fallen asleep. "Isaac?"

He blinked and looked around. "Hmm?"



"I came as soon as I heard. I was so scared. They didn't think you'd make it. I had to have Mom drive me over here. If I had driven..."

"Krystle, I love you so much. I only lived for you."

"Ike, don't say that. You may love me a lot, but don't you love your family more?"

"No. I can't say I do. They may have always been there, but they were never as special to me as you."

Krystle carefully placed her arms around his neck and they shared a warm hug. "Besides, it won't be too much longer before you and our child are my family. Then, and only then, will I love my family more than I love you because I'll love you and another."

"Isaac, that's sweet, but don't you already love him?"

"Him? How do you know?"

"Intuition. But don't you love him already?"

Isaac hugged Krystle closer. "Yeah. I guess I do."



"Man, I got something for you."

His roommate held out a closed fist. Taylor held his palm under that fist, which soon opened. He clenched his fist and pulled it toward him. He opened it to reveal a piece of rolling paper stuffed with something he was here to forget.

He tried to give it back, but he was greeted with a shaking head. Unwillingly, he tossed it across the room, but memorized it's location. He still craved it, he just didn't want it.



"Yeah. Um, you told me you loved me yesterday. Why?"

He could hear the pain in her voice. "Because I do."

"But why?"

"When I was in that coma, I heard every word you said to me. You knew I could. You blamed yourself for my stupidity. You don't know me, but you were there. Love isn't something you can explain. It just happens. It happened. I love you."

"You're wrong, Zac. First of all, it was my fault, not yours. Second of all, I do know you."

"No. It was my fault. I was the one out skating without a helmet or anything. If I had been wearing my helmet, I would have gotten a couple scrapes or something. Besides, I could have fallen anywhere. Anyway, how do you know me?"

"Okay, Zac. Whatever. And, I know you because my sister is engaged to your brother. Okay?"



"Melyssa Smith. I've had the biggest crush on you for years."

"Me? Why?"

"That's something else that's unexplainable."

She sniffled. "Well, I've got to go now. Krystle is in your brother's room and I have to tell her that we need to go."

"My brother? Which one?"

"Well, Isaac of course. Taylor was here yesterday, but he's in rehab now. You mean, you didn't know?"

"No. Why is he here?"

"He was in an accident. He was coming over to our house and a drunk driver hit him. He's okay, but he had to have an operation to fix something or other. Taylor ODed on something and willingly went to rehab, so that's good I guess."

Zac sat up quickly and got out of the damned hospital bed that he was in. He walked quickly in the direction that he thought the door was, but felt pain a moment later. Of course! His IV. He just wanted to see Isaac. To see his family.

"Zac, I'll go get the doctor. I'll be right back, okay?"


As soon as she left he curled up into a little ball on the cold tile floor of his room at Tulsa General Hospital.


"Yeah, Lis?"

"We've got to go, y'know. Are you going to go see Zac before we leave? The doctors just put him back in his bed. He found out Ike was here. He tried to run to the door or something, and his IV ripped out."

"Yeah. Just a minute."


"Yeah, yeah, Krys. I'll c'ya tomorrow."

They embraced once more before the sisters left the room to visit his younger brother.

Chapter 8

The night fell along with his spirits. Every part of him craved a drug. Any drug. He momentarily forgot the events from earlier that day as he shook in his desire.

Then through that haze came an image of a joint; a very inviting joint. He pulled away his covers and carefully got out of bed. He made his way over to where his current object of affection had fallen after he had thrown it.

He grasped it carefully between his fingers and rolled it back and forth in his hand, memorizing the image and feel of it. He looked around in his things for a lighter.

He came up with a pack of matches, which seemed good enough to him. He went into the bathroom and leaned against the wall. He place the joint between his lips and struck a match. He brought it to the end of the joint, but stopped just short of lighting it.

He wanted this so much. But he wanted Saralynn more. He dropped both match and joint into the toilet and watched as they sank. He pushed the lever and watched as both twirled and broke apart before being flushed into the rehab center's septic system.

He breathed a shaky sigh of remorse. Drugs had been his comforter for a while now. Without them, was he then without comfort? He left the bathroom and got back into bed. His dreams were filled with images of Saralynn, something that made him sublimely happy.

Zac lay in bed listening to the silence. Silence can be deafening. It is not the lack of noise that rings so loud, but the lack of people and commotion. He enjoyed it once in a while, but now that he was unable to see, he relied on his hearing, and with nothing to hear but silence, he was annoyed.

His greatest wish was that Melyssa would stop by. Even just to hear her breathe would make his day, and fuel his fantasies. Without her, his day was boring and his night was droll.

His thoughts were spent on conjuring up images of her when he wasn't concentrating on her voice. How he wished that she were here.

He tried to cross his arms across his chest, but winced in pain when he came in contact with the IV that had been ripped out yesterday. It was then that his thoughts turned to his brothers, and then his parents.

It must be hell for them. They've got three kids in the hospital. One is blind, one almost died in an accident, and one ODed. Then they have four other kids at home. This is probably worse for them than it is for me. He carefully turned on his side in order to try to make some noise and then be able to fall asleep.

I could have died. I should have been watching the road. If I had died, what would happen to Krystle? Our child? Was she telling the truth when she said it was my kid? How do I know? Maybe when she has it, we'll do a parenthood test. Yeah... No. I couldn't do that. I trust her. If it wasn't mine, she wouldn't have told me it was. I trust her.

Krystle had called him earlier. They had discussed the baby. They'd tried to think up names for the child, but they had then gotten into a discussion about whether to go through with various common practice medical techniques. They were both firmly against amnioscentesis.

They had talked about their own parents and tried to imagine what kind of parents they would be. They also discussed whether or not to have natural childbirth. Krystle had been dead-set on being drugged up for the process. Her words had been, "There is no way I'm pushing a watermelon through this hole of mine without some morphine or something!"

He laughed recalling that. His love for Krystle knew no bounds. She was his angel.

Chapter 9



"I figured I'd call and see how you're doing."

He ran a hand through his hair. "It's hard giving it all up. But I'm doing it... For you."

"For me? Don't do this for me. Do it for you."

"I'd rather do it for you. I know I don't know you all that well, but I feel as though we've got some bond. It may be love, it may be physical attraction, but whatever it is, I want you."

"You want me?"

"I want to make love to you."

"Well, maybe when you get out of there. How about that?"

"Is that a promise?"

"Maybe." He closed his eyes, trying to picture her. He'd try even harder now.

"Zachary Hanson?"

"Who is it?"

"I need to know where Zachary Hanson is. Do you know where he is?"

"Of course I know. I am him. Who are you and what do you want?"

"Oh, okay. I'm Tara."

"Well, Tara, what is your job and why are you here?"

"I deliver flowers. I've got some for you."

"Oh, okay. Just set them down somewhere. I'm blind, so don't ask me where."

"You're that kid from that band, right?"

"Yeah, Hanson. Kindly put down the flowers and go away."

"Can I get your autograph?"

"I can't see to write it, so no."

"Well, you're no fun."

"Well, you're annoying! Please leave!"

"Okay, okay."

He hated people sometimes.

He loved Krystle so much. He was glad that they were engaged, but he wanted to be married to her as soon as possible. He was scheduled to be released from the hospital later that day. Krystle was coming to pick him up.

He formulated a plan and set about packing up what few things he had with him at the hospital. Hopefully he would be a married man before Christmas, which was but two days away.

"Taylor, with the progress you've made, you may be out of here very soon."

"How soon?"

"Well, depending on the results of the tests today, you may be out of here tomorrow."

He bit his lip in anticipation. "Really?"

"Really. For your sake, I hope you do. You don't seem to like this place much."

"Was it that obvious?"

"Yeah. So, I'll see you later for those tests, okay?"

"Okay, Doctor."

He watched Doctor Harmond leave and realized that he was the only person he really liked here. He sat down on his bed and picked up the Billboard magazine that he had borrowed from the rec room. Wreck room was more like it.

He flipped through the pages of the magazine hoping that he could go home for Christmas.

"Zac, why aren't you dressed?"


"Yes, dear. You're coming home today. Isn't that nice?"

"How come no one told me?"

"I just did."



He sank back into his pillow. He didn't know if he wanted to go home. He's almost gotten used to the silence.

"Krystle, how about we get married tonight?"

"Isaac, are you still on medication?"

"No. I'm serious. I love you. I want our first Christmas as man and wife to be this Christmas."

"Isaac, I..."

"Please? Nothing could mean more to me."

"Oh, fine. Anything for you to wipe that puppy dog pout off your face."

"Is that the only reason?"

"No. But, it's the only reason I'll tell you for now. I'll tell you the other reason later."

"Tell me now!"

"That look again! Fine. I'll tell you. I want my wedding ring."

He smiled. "And that you shall get, my beloved."

"Y'know, sometimes you're almost too much, but I still love you."

He leaned back against the seat and enjoyed the ride home.

Chapter 10

He walked around his room gathering up his belongings. They were letting him out tomorrow morning. He sat down on the bed and gazed at the telephone on the nightstand. He decided to call Saralynn to let her know.

He punched in the numbers, waited through the rings and perked up when he heard Saralynn answer, "Hello?"

"Saralynn? It's Taylor."

"Taylor! How are you?"

"Good. I'm getting out of here soon."

"How soon?"

"I'll be home tomorrow afternoon. They're letting me out at ten in the morning and then my parents are taking me out shopping, and then for pizza."

"Well, come over to Mike's house at 3 then. I'll be there, and I'll give you what I promised you."

The thought hardened him. "Sure thing. Well, I guess I'll let you go now."

"Yeah. C'ya."


She hung up and he held onto the phone until he heard the dialtone. He placed the reciever down and waited.

"Is Melyssa there?"

"Yes, she is. Hold on a minute and I'll get her for you."

"Thank you."

He rubbed his sweaty palms on his jeans while waiting. "Hello?"

"Melyssa! It's Zac. I was wondering if you'd like to come over."

"Sure. What time?"

"Now's fine."

He heard her laugh. "Sure. I'll be there in a couple minutes. How's that?"

"Fine by me."

"Zac, you're crazy."

"Crazy for you."

"Ooo, just wait 'til I get there."

"I'll be counting the seconds."

"C'ya then."


He hung up and felt his way along the wall until he reached the stairway. He grasped the railing and slowly made his way down to the living room to wait.

He'd made progress in walking around. As long as he was careful and somewhat slow, he was fine. But, he'd taken in few falls in that process. Everything has it's ups and downs.

A short while later, he heard the doorbell ring and carefully made his way over to the door. He opened it and heard Melyssa say, "Zac! I'm here now."

"Great! Would you like to go outside? I haven't felt the sunshine in a while."


"Um, Melyssa? Can I hold onto your shoulder? I don't exactly know where I'm going."

"Yeah, Zac. You can. Where to?"

"How about the backyard for starters?"

"Sounds good. Just, well, follow me."


With his left hand on her right shoulder they slowly made their way to the backyard of the Hanson home. Once there, Melyssa said, "Y'know, this sunshine does feel great."

"Yeah, it does."

He started walking around slowly, just enjoying the sunshine and the cool breeze that hit his gently. Without realizing it, he sped up to a run. He ran in crooked circles just enjoying life.

Then Melyssa shouted, "Zac! Look out!"

"Do you, Krystle Lynn Smith, take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold, in sickness and in health, as long as you both shall live?"

"I do."

"Then, by the power vested in me by the state of Oklahoma, you may kiss the bride."

He embraced her and placed his lips against hers. The sparks that flew were as strong as ever. He pulled away. "I love you, Krystle."

"I love you too."

They kissed once more before he swept her off of her feet and carried her out to his car. They headed for Krystle's house where they planned on staying the night.

"I've missed you."

"I missed you too, Taylor."

Words cast aside, he lunged at Saralynn to initiate a passionate kiss. Their tongues collided in a fury of expressions unexpressed. He pulled at her clothing as she ran her fingers through his hair.

Her blouse off, he trailed his kisses down her neck, then down her chest and finally to her breasts. His experienced tongue gently tapped her nipples as she arched her back in pleasure.

At this point, Saralynn pushed him away and ran her hands down his sides until she reached his pants. She ran her hands over his bulging manhood before bringing her lips to his stomach.

She gently kissed his skin just above where his boxers hung. Then she carefully unbuttoned his pants and slid them down, following with his plaid boxers. She then continued her path of kisses down to his penis that was standing erect for only her.

She gently took the head of his penis into her mouth and carrsed it with her tongue before letting go and standing up before him. She cast off the remainders of her clothing and slowly moved towards him.

She straddled his lap and slowly guided him into her. She gasped when the head of his penis was fully inside her. She sank down further on him and started rocking, bringing him close to orgasm in just that brief movement.

As they moved in pleasureful unison, she grasped his face and brought her lips to his. That simple kiss brought him closer to that wanted orgasm. But for once, he didn't want his as much as he wanted to bring her to hers.

By now, they were both writhing in ecstacy. Sweaty body was still entangled with sweaty body as they came in unison with twin screams.

They collapsed against one another as they gasped for air. Saralynn lifted her head only to say, "That was amazing. Thank you."


"What the hell happened?"

"You tripped on a tree root."

"Figures. I mean, I can see it right in front of my nose now."

"You can?"

"Hell yeah, I.... I can? I can see! Melyssa, I'm not blind anymore!"

"I know," she said with tears welling up in her eyes and spilling over onto her pink cheeks.

He moved closer to her. "You're crying. Why?"

"I'm just... I don't know. Happy that you can see again, I guess."

At that, she threw her arms around his neck in a strong embrace. He held her to him for a bit before pulling her away. "Melyssa, can I kiss you?"

"I.. I guess."

"May I kiss you?"

Melyssa shook her head laughingly before exclaiming, "Oh, Zac!" Then she pressed her lips to his. That was how they sat until Mackie charged into the backyard with a Tonka truck in hand and Diana Hanson behind him.


"Yep. Like my ring?"

"Oh, honey! It's gorgeous. Why didn't you tell us? We would have been there."

"It was just a spur-of-the-moment thing, I guess."

"Well, I suggest you two get some rest. That is, if you know what I mean."

"Mother! First of all, this is not my honeymoon. Second, I'm pregnant."

"Oh, whatever. What? You think that kid has eyes yet?"


"You two run along. Do whatever you wish, but be together!"

"Okay, Mother."

Isaac placed an arm around Krystle's shoulders and led her upstairs. They spent the night in her bedroom, just being together.


Diana Hanson was in the kitchen cooking up a turkey and a ham along with a variety of side dishes and deserts. "Isaac? Are you going to get drinks for your other parents or not?"

"My other parents? Geez, Mom. In a minute."

He bid a momentary farewell to his wife before joining his mother in the kitchen. "By the way, Taylor and Saralynn are out walking. Her mother and the Smiths are talking and dad is videotaping it all."

"You people had better be glad I like cooking."

"We are, Mom. We are."

"Get those drinks!"

The house was bustling with activity and love. They were all basically family now, and they loved having it that way.

Love is only a wonderful thing if it is pure, true and cherished.