Ever Lonely

19 - Fallen - Peta


‘Isaac….I don’t think, I mean I can’t….no. I can’t.’
Ike heard the phone hang up in his ear.
He listened to the dial tone.
She had hung up on him, after spending three years looking
for her, she had hung up on him.
Tears stung his eyes.
He loved her still, even after four years.
He had never forgotten her.
How could he?
After all they had been through together.
The first time he’d met her he’d known he wanted to
spend the rest of his life with her, and he thought she felt
the same way too eventually.
And all this at seventeen.
But one night had changed everything, forever.
Wiping the tears away with the back of his hand,
Ike painfully remembered the summer of 1998………

In the beginning


16 year old Lacey Burbank and her mother Chrystal moved to Tulsa in the summer of 1998 to get away from Chrystal’s estranged alcoholic husband Len. In an attempt to get their lives back on track Chrystal moved herself and Lacey to Tulsa to live near her old friend Diana.

‘Mom! Where do I put all this stuff?’ Lacey called out to her mother. ‘Just put in the hall closet!’ Chrystal replied. ‘But it’s already full!’ Lacey mumbled as she tried to stuff the box in. Finally she managed to get it in and bounded back up to her bedroom to take a well-earned rest. As she lay on her bed, exhausted, she gazed out her bedroom window and into the yard of the large house next door. Her mother’s friend Diana and her family lived there, but they were away at the moment, apparently on tour, as they were the pop group Hanson. Scowling, Lacey recalled the blond trio she saw in every magazine she opened. Personally, she was not a big fan. ‘Give me the Beatles any day.’ She thought, despising her mother for making her live next door to the despised group. ‘Oh yay!’ she’d said. ‘MMMBop twenty-four hours a day!’ Lacey jumped up off her bed and wandered over to flip an old Beatles LP into her sound system. The first strains of ‘Come Together’ filled the room. ‘Lacey! Come down here please!’ she heard her mother bellow. ‘What mom?’ ‘Come here!’ Grumbling, she trudged downstairs. ‘What?’ she asked as she entered the kitchen where her mother was sitting at the table. ‘Come sit down honey.’ She did. ‘I was just going to remind you to unpack some nice clothes as we are going to the Hanson’s for dinner tomorrow. You remember I told you about the Hanson’s?’ ‘How could I forget? MMMBop singing, long haired pansy boys with about twenty brothers and sisters.’ She rolled her eyes and slouched on the table. ‘Lacey! I would appreciate if you would talk about my friends with a little bit more respect! There is no need for that kind of talk!’ her mother scolded. ‘Diana is one….’ ‘Yes mom! I know! Diana is one of your oldest, closest friends and you would really appreciate it if I would make an effort to get to know her and her family and her boys are really lovely yada yada.’ Lacey stood. ‘Are you done?’ she asked, edging out of the room. ‘Lacey! Why are you like this all of a sudden? You’ve changed so much lately. We never talk anymore! What have I done?’ ‘What have you done? What, doesn’t dragging me halfway across the country to some hick town to live next door to the All American, We are so wholesome and talented sissy Hanson clan and making me leave all my friends classify as something you could have done wrong?’ Lacey’s eyes flared and she stood with her hands on her hips. Her mother just stared. ‘Are you quite finished?’ she asked softly. Lacey didn’t respond. ‘You have to be the most ungrateful, self centered….no, forget it. I’m not giving you the satisfaction of lecturing you on what a bitch you are. You can just get out of my sight. Now! Go!’ Lacey spun on her heel and fled up to her room. Her mother put her head in her hands.

Isaac Hanson leant his head against the cool window of the van he and his family were traveling in. Not too much further, thank goodness. He thought blissfully. Home. A place so rarely seen, it was almost a mirage on the horizon. Up in front, his younger brother Taylor had spotted the sign signaling the remaining miles until they reached their destination. ‘Twenty miles to Tulsa! Twenty miles to Tulsa!’ he cried gleefully. ‘Yeah! We’re nearly home!’ the third member of the group, Zachary shouted in response. The two started yelling at the top of their lungs and it wasn’t long before the remaining family members, younger sisters Jessica and Avery and little brother Mackenzie had joined in too. ‘Can you please keep it down?’ Ike called over the noise. ‘I have the worst headache!’ The noise subsided to a dull roar and Ike closed his eyes for the rest of the tiring journey.

About twenty minutes later, the Hanson van and its over excited passengers pulled into the driveway. ‘We’re home! We’re home!’ Taylor screamed, jumping out of the van barely waiting until it stopped and running onto the lawn. Zac joined him, falling to his knees and kissing the grass repeatedly. ‘Ah! Home grass! I love you home grass!’ ‘Taylor! Zac! Get over here and get the bags out of the car!’ Walker Hanson commanded his sons. They reluctantly agreed. Ike took his time getting out of the van, helping his little brother with his belt. As soon as he stepped out, he took a deep breath of the clear Tulsa air. ‘Ah! Home!’ he cried, tilting his face to the cool blue Oklahoma sky. ‘Ike! Earth to Ike! Take this.’ Taylor threw a duffel bag at Ike and broke his daydream. Walking up the path to the front door, Ike directed his gaze to the house next door. He remembered his mother saying there was a new family moving in there soon. He hoped there would be someone around his age to hang out with, he was a little tired of his brothers after spending two months straight with them. He wanted some different company.

Lacey watched as a white van pulled up into the Hanson’s drive. ‘Great.’ She muttered. ‘The famous pop stars are back.’ For some reason unknown to her, she continued to watch as one, then two then about seven people got out of the van and went about various things. She recognized the youngest Hanson kid, what was his name? Zac or something, climb out of the car and start kissing the grass on the front lawn. She suppressed a giggle. ‘What a bunch of freaks!’ she muttered. A woman and the blonde, girly looking Hanson kid started getting bags out of the back of the van while the father struggled to control three hyper little kids. ‘They’d better not expect me to baby-sit!’ she thought disgustedly. There was no way she was watching these little brats. The eldest member of the group seemed to be looking in her direction so she quickly hid behind the curtain. She knew she had to meet them sooner or later, but better later than sooner. The last thing she wanted was to be invited over to ‘hang out’ with them. If she had to live here long, she was determined to have nothing to do with them at all. No MMMBop for her.

Ike thought he saw something moving behind one of the windows but it was gone before he could be sure. Shrugging, he turned away. Diana saw her son looking towards next door and called out to him. ‘My friend Chrystal and her daughter moved in there last week. Lacey’s her name. She’s sixteen. I invited them for tea tonight. Maybe you could show her round or something. You never know, you two might hit it off!’ she smirked Ike. ‘Mom. Please. But I guess I could show her round. Until she goes back to school anyway. She goes to school I guess?’ ‘Yes. As far as I know. Come inside and help unpack.’ Ike, on the one hand disappointed there was no guy to hang out with living next door, but on the other pleased at the possibility of a cute girl living there instead, followed his mother inside.

Later that night, after trying desperately to get out of going to the Hanson’s, Lacey reluctantly followed her mother to the house next door. ‘They’d better not expect me to baby-sit.’ She warned as her mother rang the doorbell. ‘Lacey! Please!’ ‘Chrystal!’ Diana Hanson greeted her old friend with a warm hug. ‘Diana! It’s so great to see you!’ Chrystal returned to hug. ‘This is my daughter Lacey. Lacey, this is my old friend Diana.’ Lacey shook Diana’s hand with mock sincerity and smiled at the woman. ‘Nice to meet you.’ she told her. ‘You too Lacey! Wow! You sure look like your mother! Oh! My sons are outside, just go straight through. They’re waiting to meet you.’ ‘Great.’ Lacey mumbled under her breath, earning a stern glare from her mother. Diana and Chrystal were off and chatting happily, ignoring Lacey, so she decided, against all her morals, to go outside and meet these wholesome, angelic pop stars they called Hanson.

Ike, Tay and Ike’s friend Mark threw the ball between them, forcing Zac to jump to try and get it off them. ‘Guys! Please! This ain’t fair!’ ‘Isn’t fair Zac, this isn’t fair.’ Tay corrected, passing the ball over the younger boy’s head to the waiting Ike. ‘Tay!’ ‘What? I haven’t got anything!’ Tay held up his hands to show he didn’t have the ball anymore. ‘Dad!’ Over at grill, Walker turned. ‘Ike! Tay! Give Zac a turn! Now!’ Ike, however, was paying no attention to his father. His attention was directed to the hot looking girl who had entered the yard. ‘Wooah!’ he muttered. Tay and Mark, curious as to what had taken Ike’s attention away from teasing Zac, followed his gaze and were greeted with a girl of sixteen scowling in the doorway. Zac also found her. ‘Helloo! How may we help you?’ he called, bounding over to her. Lacey took a step backwards. This kid was weird already. Walker, hearing Zac’s comment, also turned. ‘Oh! You must be Chrystal’s daughter Lacey! I’m Walker, come on in!’ he grinned. Rolling her eyes, Lacey sidestepped Zac and headed towards Walker at the grill. ‘I’m Zac!’ Zac informed her, following behind. ‘I know.’ She replied curtly. ‘OH! Are you a fan?’ he asked cheerfully. ‘No. Actually I’m not.’ Zac was a little taken back by her bluntness. Usually people who weren’t fans at least lied and pretended they were, just to be nice. ‘Oh. Ok…… Uh, you wanna play ball?’ he asked, pointing to Ike, Tay and Mark, who were gazing in her direction. ‘No thank you.’ she replied.

I held the world

Shrugging, Zac turned and walked back over to his brothers. ‘Would you like a seat?’ Walker offered her a pool lounge. Lacey sat down and tried to amuse herself by playing with the fringes on her short dress. I am officially in hell. She thought moodily. The only thing that may keep me from going totally insane is that dark haired non-Hanson guy over there. Boy is he hot! I just hope he stays awhile.

Unable to tear his gaze from the girl sitting on the lounge, Ike wondered out loud, ‘Who is that?’ Zac had returned and answered his brother’s query. ‘Your goddesses name is Lacey, she is not a fan and has a major attitude.’ ‘Yeah, but who is she? And why is she in my backyard?’ ‘She’s an angel sent from heaven, just for you Ike.’ Tay supplied. Ike frowned, still in a daze. ‘Huh? Sorry? From where? Harlem?’ Tay doubled up laughing. ‘You……’ he spluttered. ‘Are…… hopeless!’ Still laughing, he grabbed Zac’s ball again and ran off down the yard. ‘Tay!!’ Zac took off, shrieking after him. Still staring at Lacey, Ike became aware Mark was not by his side anymore, but steadily covering the distance between him and Lacey. ‘No! I saw her first!’ Ike scowled softly and started to follow his friend across the yard.

Lacey, hearing the shriek of the annoying little Hanson, looked up and spotted the cute non-Hanson heading her way. ‘Yes!’ she whispered, putting on a killer smile. The guy smiled back and ran a hand sexily through his dark wavy hair. Then she noticed the geeky Isaac following close behind. She almost scowled, but kept the smile for the other guy’s sake. She could just ignore him she figured.

‘Hey!’ Mark called to the hot looking girl sitting on the lounge. Hope she’s the next door neighbor, ‘coz I know where I’ll be a lot! He grinned at the thought. ‘Hey!’ she called back. Mark got to her side. ‘I’m Mark. Did you just move in next door?’ ‘I’m Lacey. And yes. I moved here last week.’ She flashed him a killer smile. Mark felt a nudge at his arm. Damn! Ike has to come and crash my party. This always happened. Mark was forgotten as soon as big famous Ike showed up. ‘Oh, and this is Ike. This is his house.’ He reluctantly introduced his friend, aware she would probably ignore him now. Ike grinned foolishly. ‘Hey Lacey.’ ‘Yeah. I know. So, Mark, you live around here?’ Mark nearly fell over. She now knows Ike and still wants to know him! Wow! This is great. He plastered a sexy smile on his face and struck up a conversation with Lacey, pleased with his good luck.

Ike stood and watched as his best friend chatted away with the girl of his dreams and totally ignored him. But she’s supposed to want to get to know me! He thought angrily. I’m the famous one!

Kissing you

Ike knew he was being obnoxious, but that was the way it always was, he was famous so all the hot girls wanted to know him. What was going on? Then Mark and Lacey were standing and walking into the house. Ike felt like crying.

Tay gazed with amusement as his older brother forlornly looked after Mark and the blonde girl disappeared into the house. Ha! He thought. Ike’s in love with this girl, but she couldn’t give a crap about him! This is a moment to be treasured. Holding laughter, Tay jogged over to his brother. ‘Hey Ike, where’s Mark going?’ he asked casually. ‘Inside. With Lacey.’ Ike replied sadly. ‘So why don’t you follow him? It’s your house.’ Tay suggested. That seemed to snap Ike out of his daze. ‘Yeah! It is, isn’t it?’ and he quickly headed inside after Mark and Lacey.

Lacey and Mark were getting along well and Lacey was feeling better about being dragged over here. If Mark can stand coming here then I’m sure I can. She thought gleefully. And she’d gotten away from Ike. She remembered the way he’d looked at her. She shivered. He’s got a thing for me. She thought disgustedly. Great. A Hanson is in love with me. Just what I always wanted. Let’s just hope Mark feels the same way.

Ike walked into the den to find Mark and Lacey sitting on the sofa laughing at something. ‘Hey guys!’ he called cheerfully. They turned to him. He noticed Mark frown slightly and a strange look cross Lacey’s face, but decided to ignore it. ‘What ya’s up to?’

No! This can’t be happening! He followed me in here like a lost little puppy! Oh lord help me! Lacey fought the urge to grab Mark and flee the house.

Later that night, Chrystal went in search of her daughter to take her home from the Hanson’s. She searched the whole yard but couldn’t find her anywhere. She found Ike sitting in the lounge chair by the cold grill and asked him if he’d seen her. ‘No….she actually left about an hour ago. Said she was tired and wanted to go to bed. I remember because we were in the den then Mark left a bit after.’ He informed her. ‘Oh. Oh, that’s strange. She never told me she was going home. And I never saw her turn any lights on in the house.’ ‘Maybe she just went to bed in the dark.’ Ike suggested, more now for his benefit than Chrystal’s as the suspicious feel of the situation began to worry him. Lacey says she’s tired, goes home. Mark decides to leave soon after. Chrystal doesn’t know where Lacey is. Hmmmmmmm. No. They wouldn’t. They didn’t like each other. Did they? Ike began to get worried.

Chrystal shook her head. Where had she gone? Fuming, Chrystal bade farewell and thanked the Hanson’s and made her way home. Lacey was in for a hiding when she caught up to her.

‘Quick! Mom’s coming home!’ Lacey giggled as Mark nibbled her ear. ‘No! I don’t want to go.’ He whined. ‘You have to! Now get!’ Lacey tried to push him away but he refused to budge. After three hellish hours at the Hanson’s with Ike staring googly-eyed at her, Lacey had announced she wanted to go home to bed. With a sly wink at Mark, she had left and ran home. A few minutes later, Mark had joined her in her bedroom and they had been alone for the last hour. ‘Lacey! Are you in here?’ Lacey heard her mother call from downstairs. ‘Mark! You have to go!’ Lacey pulled herself up off the bed and pushed Mark towards the window. ‘Call me.’ he told her and quickly slipped out the window. Lacey scrambled into bed and pretended to be asleep. She heard her mother open her door, see her light out and shut it again. She knew she’d cop it in the morning but it’d be worth it. An hour with Mark alone and an hour without the Hanson’s.

Sitting on his bed, Ike watched in amazement and sorrow as his best friend climbed out of his dream girl’s window and shimmed down her drainpipe out of sight. Cursing, Ike threw back his covers and climbed into bed. How could they do that to him? He thought angrily. His best friend. Mark must have known Ike liked Lacey. But he still betrayed her. Ike tossed and turned restlessly all night, visions of the beautiful Lacey filling his dreams.

A week later Lacey and Mark became an item and Ike felt his best friend slipping away from him. He would call Mark to ask him to hang out, only to be told he was out with Lacey. Ike had lost his best friend and the love of his life in one foul swoop. Life was at a low for Isaac Hanson.

Meanwhile, Lacey was having a blast. Mark was great, taking her places, buying her things. And they had great make-out sessions too! And all without having anything to do with the Hanson’s. Ever since that first night, Chrystal had stopped trying to get Lacey to be civil to them and Mark seemed to be over them so Lacey used the opportunity to break any ties she had with them once and for all. Living next door to them wasn’t so bad if you didn’t ever have to see them. Even the Zac one was all but non-existent to her. And it was great. One night, she was relaxing in her room when she noticed Ike sitting in the Hanson tree house staring in her bedroom window. ‘What a creep!’ she muttered and ran over to the window to shut the blinds.

Ike recoiled as he saw Lacey walking over to the window. ‘Shit! She’s seen me!’ He watched in dismay as she drew the blinds, stopping him seeing her. He knew he was being a creep, looking in her bedroom window, but he was desperate, he lived next door to her but she never had anything to do with him. And to make matters worse, he was in love with her and she’d taken his best friend. He was desperate.

Losing touch

A few days later, Ike and Tay were at the mall when Ike noticed Lacey and a bunch of her friends sitting at a table in the food court with a bunch of guys Ike had never seen before. Mark was nowhere in sight and Lacey and one guy were getting pretty friendly. Ike watched with curiosity as Lacey planted a kiss on the guy’s cheek and then stood and lead him out of the mall. As they passed Ike and Tay, Ike and Lacey locked eyes. The pain in Ike’s eyes was deep.

‘Shit!’ The guy Lacey was with turned to her. ‘What?’ ‘Ike. He’s seen me.’ ‘So?’ ‘So? He’ll tell Mark!’ ‘So let him! You were going to break up with him anyway.’ ‘Yeah, but I was going to tell him myself. You know how jealous he gets.’ Lacey and her friend continued their walk out of the mall.

That night, Ike was alone at home when the doorbell rang. ‘Coming!’ he shouted and raced down to answer it. He was shocked to see Lacey standing there. ‘L..Lacey.’ he stuttered. ‘Ike. Can I come in please?’ ‘Uh, sure. I guess.’ Lacey followed Ike into the den. ‘So…what’s up Lacey?’ Ike tried to sound casual. ‘Uh, not much. I actually need your help.’ She looked him straight in the eye. Ike sat up straight. ‘Uh, you do?’ he squeaked. ‘Yeah. Look. I know you saw me at the mall today. And I just wanted to ask you to keep it quiet. I mean, not tell Mark.’ Lacey pleaded with her eyes. Ike nodded almost immediately. ‘Sure. No problem. Your secrets safe with me.’ he grinned. ‘Thanks Ike. I’d better go.’ Lacey stood up and went to leave, but for some reason, couldn’t tear her eyes away from Ike. ‘Oh! Are you sure? Do you want a soda or something?’ Ike tried to think of a way to get her to stay. It was only the second time Lacey had been in his house, after living next door to her a full month and first time he had been alone with her. ‘No. I really gotta go.’ Tearing her gaze away, Lacey quickly left the house.

What was wrong with me back there? She wondered, confused and a little disgusted. I do NOT like Isaac Hanson. I despise him and his whole family. So why am I unable to get his face out of my mind?

Ike slumped down on the sofa. Lacey had been in his house, probably for the last time and he had been powerless to stop her leaving. She was so beautiful. ‘Damn you!’ he smacked his forehead with his open palm. ‘You are so stupid!’ God, he would never get over her. Holding his head in his hands, he recalled the few moments he had just spent with her. He remembered telling her he wouldn’t tell his best friend that he had seen his girlfriend cheating on him. It was a pretty immoral thing to do, but it was for Lacey.

When the kissing stops

Ike would do anything for her. Anything that might help bring them together. He sat and wished for a miracle. Anything to get the girl of his dreams to even notice his existence.

Tay and Zac threw the ball between them, back and forth, back and forth on the front lawn of the Hanson home. It was a beautiful September day and the rest of the family had gone swimming for the day. ‘Jeez Tay! Learn to throw straight will ya!’ Zac shouted to his brother. ‘Shut up Mr-I-can-barely-make-the-distance!’ Tay retorted, hurtling the ball harder at his brother. Zac missed the catch and had to chase the ball down the yard. Tay took the opportunity to look over at the Burbank’s house. ‘Hey Zac!’ he called to his brother who was puffing back up the drive. ‘What?’ ‘Seen Lacey lately?’ ‘Nup. And I don’t want to either, she’s a major cow. Why?’ ‘Just wondering. I never see her either. Wonder what we’ve done to make her not want to have anything to do with us? I mean, I only meet her once.’ ‘Yeah.’ Zac replied thoughtfully. ‘But it seems she’s made quite an impression on poor old Ike.’ Tay laughed. ‘Yeah! Mr Love-struck! He’s pathetic! He hasn’t stopped moping around the house since she started seeing Mark. Or looking in her bedroom window. Pity she thinks he’s a major geek!’ Tay and Zac doubled up laughing.

‘No Mark! I told you! I’m not seeing anyone else! I promise!’ ‘I don’t believe you.’ ‘Why not?’ ‘Why do you always have things to do when I call you? Why can’t you ever see me?’ ‘I do have a life you know. I think it’s time you realized the whole world doesn’t revolve around you. Me included.’ ‘You bitch! You’re supposed to be going out with me! I gave up my friends to be with you because you had some chip on your shoulder and didn’t want anything to do with them!’ ‘Well excuuuuse me! It didn’t seem to worry you at the time!’ ‘Look, this is getting us nowhere! Why don’t I call you later when you may have cooled down?’ ‘What?! You complete jerk! When I’ve cooled down? Me? I’m not the one accusing the other of cheating on you and acting totally possessive! I don’t think you’d better call me, ever!’ Lacey turned her back on Mark. ‘What? What did you say?’ ‘I said don’t call me ever again! Now get out of my house! I don’t want to see you again! It’s over!’ Mark’s face clouded with anger and without another word, stormed out of Lacey’s house, slamming the door behind him so hard it all most broke off it’s hinges.

Up in her bedroom, Lacey slowly smiled to herself. Then she picked up the phone and dialed Adrian’s number.

Tay and Zac watched as Mark came tearing out of Lacey’s house and with a face like thunder, took off down the street. ‘Woo! Trouble in paradise! Looks like Ike might be in with a chance!’ Tay laughed. ‘Yeah right!’ Zac replied, smirking. ‘A snowballs chance in hell!’

Where do angels fly?

‘Hey Mark! Wait up!’ Mark turned to see Ike jogging after him. ‘How’s it going?’ he called, only slightly caring. ‘Ok. So…ah…how’ve you been?’ Ike asked, catching up to him. ‘Yeah, ok.’ ‘Haven’t seen you for awhile.’ ‘Yeah, sorry, other things to do. How’s Tay, Zac?’ ‘They’re ok.’ The two walked along further. ‘Broke up with Lacey you’ll be happy to know.’ Mark informed his friend, anger boiling up inside him at the mention of her name. Ike recoiled. ‘Uh, sorry? You what?’ ‘I said, I broke up with Lacey. You should be happy, now she’s all yours.’ Ike was shocked. Lacey and Mark were over? He was torn between shouting for joy and wallowing deeper in his misery, knowing he still didn’t have a chance. ‘Well? Aren’t you gonna say something? You’re so in love with her it’s pathetic.’ Ike was at a loss for words. A huge grin spread across his face. ‘I knew it! You’re pathetic!’ Mark spat at him. ‘But you know what? She’ll never look at you! You’re beneath her, and might I add, that must be pretty low.’ Mark turned and sped off across the street. Ike felt like he had been slapped.

Lacey and Adrian were fooling around in her room when Lacey’s phone rang. ‘Oh jeez! Interruptions!’ Grumbling, she leant over and grabbed the phone. ‘What?’ she asked, irritated. ‘Lacey. It’s me.’ ‘Mark! What do you want calling here?’ ‘I, uh, just wanted to see if you were ok. I mean…….’ Lacey couldn’t believe her ears. ‘Excuse me? Me ok? And why wouldn’t I be?’ ‘Oh, no reason. I just called to see how you were.’ ‘I’m fine. And you?’ Lacey asked, although she couldn’t have cared less. ‘Yeah, ok. I’m coping.’ ‘Great, look. I have company. I’d better go.’ ‘Oh, ok.’ ‘Yeah. I’ll be seeing ya.’ ‘Yeah. Bye Lacey.’ But she’d already hung up.

Anger boiled up inside Mark. He had heard the male’s voice in the background. They had tried hard to conceal it but he’d heard all right. How dare she? How dare she have another guy over? She belonged to him and it was about time he made her believe it.

Ike didn’t think he could ever get Lacey to notice him, let alone go out anywhere with him. Two whole months living next door to her. Two whole months and about five words. How pathetic! And what did Mark mean she was all his? What was happening?

The day the music died

This chapter of ‘Fallen’ contains some adult content, so be forewarned.

Lacey hummed away to her Beatles record and enjoyed her quiet time alone. Her mother was out and Adrian had finally let her have some time to herself. Being so popular was wearing her a little thin. She had to have time to sit and think. Some things that popped into her mind she could understand, others she couldn’t. It was good how Mark had taken their breakup. It had been two weeks and she’d spoken to him a few times and he seemed ok. She of course, was fine. Adrian was a better kisser anyhow. One thing that was not quite so easily thought out was the peculiar feeling she’d had when she’d gone to talk to Ike that day. When she couldn’t seem to take her eyes off him. She knew she didn’t like him, that was for sure. But she hadn’t seen him lately, so she’d hadn’t been able to see what she’d feel the next time she did. Weird. A sudden noise made her jerk her head up. It sounded like the front door shutting. ‘Mom? Are you home already?’ she called, annoyed at her peace being disturbed. No answer. There was no other noise so she shrugged and went back to her thinking. The next thing she knew she was thrown to the floor and her hands held behind her back.

‘Please! Get off me! ple……’ ‘Shut up! You belong to me Lacey! You know that! Now hold still. You know you want this.’ Lacey squirmed and tried in vain to pull off her attacker. What was going on? Who was he? What did he want? She tried to scream but something was shoved in her mouth. She tried to free herself but the person was too heavy. With a sudden surge of strength, she was able to twist around to face her attacker. The face she was confronted with would haunt her for the rest of her life. Her eyes widened in terror, filled with tears at the sight of her ex-boyfriend on top of her, pinning her down. Terror filled her heart, her mind, her whole body. She was paralyzed with fear. She tried to scream but with one swift blow she was knocked unconscious. Her life flashed before her eyes before everything went black.

Lacey awoke to a painful throbbing in her head and aches all over her body. Her bed felt hard underneath her. Because it wasn’t her bed. Struggling to sit up, Lacey found herself lying on the floor of her room, her clothes no longer on her, but strewn around her and the horror of the situation dawned on her. She recalled the last horrifying half an hour. Gathering up enough strength to make it to the bathroom, she turned on the shower and sat underneath it, with only enough strength left to sob bitterly. But no matter how much water flowed over her body, she would never be clean again.


Ike was worried. He had not seen Lacey in three days and more than once her he had heard his mother and her mother exchanging worried words. What was up with Lacey? She didn’t seem the type to dwell on break ups, more likely she thrived on them for power. Ike had only known her a few months but this seemed out of character. Usually he saw her going in and out all day.

‘Lacey! Mark’s on the phone!’ ‘Tell him I’m not home.’ ‘Lacey please! You haven’t taken a call in three days. Or even left your room. What’s wrong?’ Chrystal tried to get into her daughter’s room and more or less back into her life. Ever since they’d moved to Tulsa, Lacey had become very distant to Chrystal, more so in the last three days, not speaking at all and Chrystal didn’t know what to do. ‘Lacey?’ Chrystal thought she heard sobbing on the other side of the door. ‘Lacey let me in!’ ‘No! Please just go away!’ Lacey tried to keep the tears out of her voice. She just wanted to be alone. Chrystal was late for work so she left, but she vowed to get through to her daughter that night.

Zac watched as Mark stood on the Burbank’s doorstep ringing the bell. ‘Ike!’ ‘Ike get over here! You might want to see this!’ Ike grumbled and walked over to his brother, annoyed he had disrupted his game. ‘What is it Zac?’ he asked. ‘Look.’ Zac pointed out the window. ‘Oh.’ Lacey and Mark were sitting on the front porch of the Burbank’s house. It looked like Lacey was shying away from him a little.

Lacey was scared. Maybe more scared than she had ever been in her life. Mark was sitting opposite her, telling her he loved her and wanted her back. She wanted to refuse. But he was pressuring her, after all, he loved her. But she was shaking her head. Now he was yelling. She had to come back to him or he’d do what he did to her again and she couldn’t tell anyone, no one would believe her anyway. They all thought she was a slut. So now she was nodding, agreeing. He was happy. He kissed her, told her he’d ring her and left. Lacey was alone, shivering in the dark, recalling the last few minutes. But it was as if she’d just watched it on ‘Dawson’s Creek.’ It was surreal to her. It wasn’t her in the picture, it was some one else. But Mark loved her.

Ike continued to watch over Lacey and he noticed that she ventured out of the house, on the arm of Mark the next day. He was a little shocked as he thought they’d broken up, but just dismissed it. But when he saw them one day at the mall, he knew something was wrong.

Lacey was not her usual cheery self. She was a little withdrawn and quiet. She was at the mall with Mark when she spotted Adrian and some of his friends.

Turn back time

Mark had been suffocating her all day and she needed a break. While he was talking to some other people, she decided to wander over and talk to Adrian. She was happily chatting away when she spotted Mark heading her way, his eyes full of rage.

Ike glanced over toward the Ski shop and his eyes rested on Lacey talking to some friends. Well, she looks a little better. Ike thought happily. He wanted to see her happy. He continued to watch as she laughed and talked and quickly became aware of Mark heading her way. He looked a little angry to him. Ike’s eyes widened in surprise as Mark reached Lacey and grabbed her by the arm. He dragged her away from the guys and began talking to her sternly, like a father. Lacey looked scared and Ike wanted to go and help her but he knew she would rather die than let him help her. He watched helplessly as Mark stormed off and left Lacey sobbing in the middle of the mall. His sorrow overriding all other feelings, Ike started walking towards her. As much as she hated him, he didn’t want to see her unhappy.

Lacey tried to stop the sobbing but the tears just wouldn’t cease. Why? She wondered. Why did he act like that? I wasn’t doing anything wrong. I’m still his. And I didn’t tell anyone. Suddenly she was aware of someone at her side, she recoiled, thinking it was Mark, but was shocked to see Ike standing near her, bringing that strange feeling back. ‘Lacey? Are you ok?’ At that moment, Lacey wanted nothing more then to throw her arms around him and have him dry her tears, but pride got in the way of her true emotions, and she was afraid of him. ‘Yes Ike. I’m fine.’ ‘Are you sure? Did you and Mark have a fight?’ ‘What are you? Neighborhood watch? It’s none of your business ok? I’m fine.’ But Ike persisted. ‘Lace, please! What’s wrong? I noticed you haven’t been out of your house in three days.’ ‘What? Are you spying on me still! You’d better stop or if I catch you again I’ll call the police, and I don’t care if you are Isaac Hanson!’ She snapped. Her head was spinning and she couldn’t read her emotions. She had to get away from Ike as soon as possible. She did not know what she might discover, plus his presence was making her feel trapped. ‘Are you sure you’re ok?’ Ike was genuinely concerned, as a friend and as a lovesick admirer. ‘Ike, please. It’s none of your business and would you please go away before I call a security guard.’ Lacey spun on her heel and sped out of the mall, a nagging voice in the back of her mind unconsciously telling her she liked Isaac Hanson a lot more than she cared to admit.

Ike looked after Lacey with more pain in his heart than he had ever imagined possible. He felt like she’d just ripped out his soul, trod on it and left it out to die.

Tay was standing on the front door step, seconds away from planting a kiss on the girl of his dreams when Ike came screaming up the drive, slammed the car door and tore past Tay and his girl into the house. ‘Perfect timing, as always.’ Tay groaned. ‘He should have been the drummer.’ Tay’s new girlfriend Peta however, was not deterred and took the opportunity to place a sweet kiss on his cheek. ‘I gotta go.’ She told him. ‘Call me.’ Tay blushed and smiled. ‘Sure.’

Don't kiss me goodnight

Waving, Peta took off down the drive, almost colliding with Lacey who was flying along the pavement.

Ike flew past Tay and some girl on the front step and ran up to his room, slamming the door behind him. Slamming doors was somewhat therapeutic for Ike, he liked to do it a lot when he was angry. It vented some frustration. Throwing himself on his bed, Ike let out a strangled cry. Oh Lacey. Finally, she was completely out of his reach. As unreachable as the stars. Marvelous.

Lacey screamed. ‘Why! Why me!’ And broke into fresh sobs. She crumpled down on her floor and sobbed and sobbed. She was grateful her mother was out, she needed to think, but she needed to not think too. Too many things were happening. Mark. Ike.

Later that night, the doorbell rang and when Ike answered it, he thought he was hallucinating. ‘L….Lacey?’ he squeaked, wide eyed. ‘I, uh, just, uh came to apologize. For today I mean. I was way out of line.’ ‘That’s ok.’ ‘Well, I guess I’d better go.’ ‘No! Oh, I mean, please come in. I mean, would you like to come in?’ Ike stumbled for words. ‘No. Please. I have to go.’

Lacey could feel the tears prickling behind her eyes and knew she didn’t have much time to leave before she broke down. She could not expose herself to Ike. After all, it was her fault. I mean, if she’d only stayed with Mark, and not gone off the track…… She was better off with him anyway. Why did she do it? Why did she bring this all on herself? Tears started to fall uncontrollably from her eyes and she had to hang her head. Ike was startled. ‘Lacey! What’s wrong?’ he cried alarmed. Lacey tried to turn and flee but he caught her arm.

Ike knew he had no business asking Lacey to tell him what was wrong, but even if she didn’t know it, she meant a lot to him and he was hurting to see her this upset.

But Lacey could not touch Ike. No. She could never touch anyone else except Mark. It wasn’t as though he’d shattered her trust, no, she was stronger than that, she just knew she could not touch anyone in case Mark saw her.

‘Let me go, please!’ she begged, sobbing. ‘He might see me!’ ‘Who might see you Lace? Who?’ Ike asked, holding her up by her arm. Then he realized. ‘Mark.’ ‘Oh Lace! What has he done to you?’ Lacey broke from Ike’s grasp and fled home.


I have to see her. I have to find out what he’s done to her. Why was she so afraid? The look of terror in Lacey’s eyes had haunted Ike for the rest of his sleepless night. And he had vowed to help Lacey, even if against her will.

Mark saw Ike striding towards him and scowled. What did he want? ‘Mark! I need to talk to you.’ ‘What is it? Make it quick. I have to go see Lace.’ ‘Actually, that’s what I want to talk to you about. Lacey came to see me last night and she was pretty upset.’ The anger in Mark’s eyes chilled Ike to the bone. ‘Oh she did, did she? And what did she say?’ ‘Something about not wanting you to see her.’ Ike spat. ‘What have you done to her Mark? She’s scared shit-less all of a sudden! What have you done to her you faggot?’ ‘It’s none of your business and I’d appreciate if you’d keep your pansy ass out of my life!’ Mark’s eyes flared and he pushed Ike hard before storming off down the path. Ike was momentarily stunned but realized Mark was heading towards Lacey’s house. He had to get there first.

Lacey saw Mark and knew what was coming. He’d seen her that night. She was dead. ‘Mark! I’m sorry! I, uh, just had to give him some milk!’ Lacey pleaded. ‘Shut up you stupid bitch! Just shut up! You owe me! You owe me big time!’ Lacey watched in horror as he raised his arm.

Ike, filled by some unknown force, leapt onto Mark and threw him to the ground. ‘You leave her alone faggot! You hear me! Or I’ll pound you to within an inch of your worthless little life!’ Ike smacked him hard in the mouth then pulled him, groggily to his feet. ‘Now get the hell outta here before I call the cops!’ Mark held his face and backed away, ‘You’re going down Hanson! You’re going down.’ he spat before fleeing down the street.

Lacey watched as Ike smacked Mark in the mouth. She was shaken but aware enough of her feelings to be able to feel a great gratitude towards him. And that niggling weird feeling was back. One thing amazed her, why, when she was an absolute bitch to him everyday of his life, was he so concerned in sticking up for her and finding out what was wrong? It didn’t make sense.

Ike saw Lacey sitting in the pavement watching him with a strange look in her face. Ike went to approach her but then turned away sadly. He didn’t need her to tell him to butt out of his life again. He was as much out of it as he could be, despite what had just happened. ‘Ike!’ He turned. Lacey looked up at him. ‘Thank you.’ he heard Lacey whisper, a tear trickling down her cheek. His heart melted and he walked over to her. ‘That’s not all that’s wrong, is it?’ She shook her head sadly.

The breath of fire

Lacey sat opposite Ike in her bedroom and tried to find to courage to tell him what had happened. She knew Mark would get into trouble, and she still thought it was mainly her fault. Plus she didn’t know Ike that well. But she knew she had to.

Ike sat watching Lacey, his heart doing backflips. Please find it in your heart to trust me. He silently prayed. ‘I know you don’t like me very much and probably hate me even more for prying, but I know some thing is going on and even though I don’t know you very well either, I want to help you.’ Ike tried. Lacey remained silent.

How could she trust anyone again? And Mark might find out still. What would happen?

Ike played nervously with his hands. It was time.

Lacey nearly keeled over when Ike spoke next, but didn’t, just broke down completely.

‘Mark, he raped you. Didn’t he?’

Lacey felt something die inside her.

Ike kicked the wall, hard, tears of frustration and bitter anger escaping him. ‘You will pay Mark Inness! You will pay bastard!’ he screamed to the empty house. Mrs Hanson was not going to be impressed when she saw the hole Ike had made in his bedroom wall.

‘No! I can’t! I can’t call the police! Mark said I couldn’t! They wouldn’t believe me anyway, and he’ll come and get me!’ Lacey struggled against Ike’s strong grasp. ‘Lacey! You have to! There’s no other option!’ he tried to plead with her. ‘No Ike! No!’ Ike released his grip.

In a strange way, it was lucky that Ike had to go to Oklahoma City for a concert, it lessened his chances of running into Mark. God knows what would have happened if he did. But it was killing him inside just knowing he was away from her, after all that had happened and after she had told him, the bond they had formed, he thought she might need him. But she insisted he go. Ike wondered if she still hated him a little, wanted to be away from him.

‘Ike? Earth to Ikey-poo! Come in please!’ Tay waved a hand in front of his brother’s face. Ike had been so different lately, reclusive, secretive, moody. Tay was really worried, Ike told him everything. Now, nothing. He had also seen him at the Burbank’s house more than a few times. Of course he and Zac had made their jokes, but it was obvious it was a lot deeper than a little good fortune on Ike’s part. Tay sat back and studied his older brother, aware of the deep pain and anguish in his eyes.

‘You have to Lace. You know you have to.’ Pain forcing her to look away, Lacey made up her mind.

In a perfect world

‘I stand before the court today to pass judgement on Mark Inness of Tulsa, Oklahoma on the grounds of statutory rape and sexual assault in the first degree. Taken into account the accused age, I hereby charge Mark Inness to four years in the Tulsa County Correctional Center with a minimum three years without bail. Court dismissed.’ Ike let out a sigh of relief.

Across the courtroom, Lacey and Chrystal hugged briefly, their relationship still strained. Lacey’s lawyer congratulated her clients with warm handshakes and smiles. Lacey managed a small smile.

‘Lace! Lace! I need to talk to you!’ Ike turned at the outcry. Mark was calling out to Lacey. Ike had never looked upon someone with more hatred, his loyalty to his former best friend completely rotted through. He walked up until he was within a few steps of Mark who was held by two burly policemen. ‘Don’t you dare.’ he whispered savagely. ‘Don’t you dare.’ ‘But I have to tell her how sorry I am!’ Mark wailed. Ike was furious. ‘And what? That’s gonna make it all better I suppose? You’re not only sick, you’re naïve too you little fag! You’ve got another thing coming if you think I’m gonna let you come within ten miles of Lacey ever again. As far as I’m concerned, I never want to see you again, and I wouldn’t even spit on our friendship.’ Ike turned and stormed over to where Lacey and her mother were sitting, his heart full of rage.

Lacey stared out the window of her mother’s car on the way home from the hearing, barely managing enough concentration to do even that. Her mind was reeling on the hearing, Mark, that night and of course, Ike. A tear slipped down her cheek. A part of her was missing, and no matter how much anyone tried, herself included, she would never get it back.

Ike sat on the floor in room and tried to pen the words to the song that had been milling around in his head for the past few days. “Your face is dark with shadows, your eyes have lost their shine, you’re at war with your emotions and it’s not for the first time. I don’t like to see you unhappy but there seems nothing I can do sometimes you open up to me other times I just can't get through.” He stopped and almost screwed it up. This was the hardest song he had ever tried to write. No amount of words could possibly explain what he was feeling right now, or what he felt for Lacey.

“I know you don’t like to talk and find it hard to trust anyone but you need to free yourself, it’s your turn in the sun……. You don’t have to feel like this no one can force you to be this way you have every right to shine every moment of the day……..” Lacey could barely stop the tears that cascaded down her cheeks. ‘Oh Ike! Why are you so nice to me?’ she cried. She stopped the tape to cry herself to sleep.

The Hanson family had to leave the next day to perform on the Jay Leno show in New York and Ike didn’t get a chance to say good-bye to Lacey.

On the road to trust

When Ike returned, the first thing he did was visit Lacey. Chrystal welcomed him with open arms. ‘She’s in her bedroom Ike. And thank-you.’ Ike could see tears in the woman’s eyes.

‘Lace? It’s Ike. Can I come in?’ ‘Ike! You’re back!’ Lacey flew to the door and flung it open. ‘So, you missed me huh?’ Ike grinned. Suddenly Lacey stopped. ‘Lace?’ Lacey felt an unexplainable fear rising in her stomach. She had to turn away. ‘Lace! What’s wrong?’ Ike rushed towards her and put his arm around her shoulder. Lacey stiffened and tried desperately to shake his arm off. Ike sensed something was wrong and backed off. Lacey stumbled over to her bed and hid herself under the covers, terrified, but she didn’t know why.

Ike tore at his hair. After he had been to see Lacey the first time since he returned, he had tried to see her three other times but she wouldn’t let him near her. What had he done?

Lacey stood hesitantly on the Hanson’s doorstep, the first time she had been out of her house since the hearing. She was a little scared, but she was desperate to get back to normal, to get rid of this fear she could not find a reason for. The first step was to talk to Ike. The door was answered by some girl Lacey had never seen before and she was about to flee home when the girl said, ‘Lacey?’ Lacey nodded slowly. ‘Hi. I’m Peta, Tay’s girlfriend. Ike’s up in his room. Would you like to come in?’ Lacey could tell from the look on the girl’s face that she knew what had happened, but was grateful she had not asked her how she was. It was all she had been hearing lately. She nodded slowly. Peta smiled and led her up to Ike’s room, as she had never been there before. She knocked on the door and then disappeared back down the stairs. ‘Come in!’ Ike called from within. Lacey cautiously opened the door and entered the room. ‘Ike?’ Ike turned around. ‘Lace!’ Lacey ran to Ike and threw her arms around him. She never wanted to let go.

Ike saw Lacey every day and gradually helped her patch up her relationship with her mom and get her out of the house. Her favorite place to go was a park near their houses, but gradually they got to the mall and she even accompanied Ike and his brothers to a performance outside the Blue Rose Café. Ike was elated and relieved to see the beautiful smile return to her face.

For Lacey, the time spent with Ike was great but a little worrying, her feelings for him growing stronger.


The last day before Lacey was to go back to school, Ike, Lacey, Zac, Tay and Peta went down to a lake on the outskirts of Tulsa and soaked in the last of the summer’s rays. ‘Zac! Throw us the ball!’ Ike yelled to his younger brother. ‘No Zac! Over here!’ Peta called. ‘Zac! Here man!’ Tay called from yet another direction. Zac frowned. Man! This was too hard a decision for this nice of a day. He threw the ball to the ground and ran down to the water. ‘Zac!’ Ike and Tay groaned at the same time. Lacey giggled. The Hanson’s were not so bad once you got to know them. While Tay and Peta joined Zac in the water, Ike wandered back up to the towel where Lacey was sitting. ‘Whatcha doing?’ he asked flopping down beside her. ‘Just laughing at you all. And thinking how much of a bitch I was when I first came here.’ ‘Huh? What do you mean?’ ‘Oh just that when I first knew I was going to live next door to you I was ready to skip the country. And when I actually got here I did my best to stay away from you.’ ‘Really? I would never have guessed!’ Ike smirked at her. ‘Hey! Look, I’m really sorry for the way I treated you and your family, I had no right.’ ‘Yeah you did. Everyone has equal rights and you don’t have to associate with people you don’t want to.’ ‘Thanks. Do you have anymore profound statements you’d like to add?’ she grinned. ‘Hey! Was that an insult?’ Ike looked offended. ‘No! Oh sorry! Jeez! This conversation really sucks on my part doesn’t it?’ she hung her head. Ike reached over and lifted it up. ‘No. And however much a bitch you are to me, it doesn’t alter the way I fell about you.’ he looked her in the eye. Lacey stared back, uncertainty filling her eyes. Ike turned away. ‘Shit.’ He muttered. ‘Why did I have to say that?’ Lacey placed a hand on his arm. ‘Ike. It’s ok.’ Ike turned back. ‘You mean a lot to me Lacey.’ Lacey nodded. ‘You too Ike, but I can’t….’ ‘I know.’

Chrystal knocked on the Hanson’s doorstep around lunchtime on Lacey’s first day back at school. She was greeted by Diana. ‘Chrystal! Come in! Lacey get off to school ok?’ Chrystal followed her friend into the kitchen. ‘Yeah. Not too bad. I think she’s a little scared at how people will treat her now.’ ‘Yeah. It must be hard.’ ‘Look, I just want to thank Ike. For all he’s done. He’s really been a guardian angel to Lacey, without him I don’t think she would have pulled through. Is he home?’ ‘No. He’s not actually. The boys and Walker went to do an interview in Kansas City. They won’t be back ‘til tomorrow.’ ‘Oh. Look, can you just give him this when he gets home?’ Chrystal handed over a small envelope. ‘Sure. Do you want to stay for coffee?’ Chrystal agreed.


The next few weeks were great for Lacey, her and Ike spending a lot of time together. There were of course letters, flowers and presents from well-wishers, but Lacey tried not to let them make her dwell on the past. It was time to move on.

Ike, however was having trouble coping with spending so much time with Lacey, he knew he couldn’t hide his feelings much longer, and judging from the experience in the park, him letting them be known was not going to help anyone, least of all Lacey. But every time he was around her, his heart ached. He longed to touch her, hold her, closer than she would let him, and kiss her softly. But he knew he couldn’t and it was breaking his heart. Of course he understood, but it didn’t help.

Lacey too was feeling a little the same way, but her feelings took back seat to her inability to place full trust in anyone.

One night, Lacey was on the phone to Peta when she suddenly muttered, ‘Oh Ike!’ Suddenly realizing what she had said, she clamped a hand over her mouth but the words were already out. Silence greeted her on the other end of the line. Lacey silently cursed. ‘Peta? Are you still there?’ Peta laughed. ‘Yeah, and good to see you’ve finally figured it out. But you know, no one else took that long!’ ‘Sorry?’ ‘Lacey, it’s ok. Everyone knows, except maybe Ike! But I won’t tell him.’ ‘Know what?’ ‘Lace. Are you that stupid? It’s not at all subtle. Look, I gotta go. And remember, he likes you just as much!’ Before Lacey could grasp a hold of the conversation, it was over and she was left staring at the phone.

Lacey spent a lot of time pondering the conversation and was a little startled at the conclusion she drew.

‘Hello?’ ‘Hey Ike.’ ‘Lace! What ya up to?’ ‘Not much, you?’ ‘Nah, me neither. Supposed to be studying but I can’t concentrate.’ ‘Oh right.’ A pause. ‘So….’ ‘So….’ ‘Lace? Are you ok?’ ‘Me? Yeah. I’m fine why?’ ‘No reason.’ ‘Look Ike. I really need to see you. Can we talk?’ ‘Sure Lace. Meet me outside in ten minutes, k?’ ‘Thanks.’ And she hung up. She had no idea what she was going to say, but she needed to see him.

An end and a beginning

When Ike returned home that night, he spent the next hour or so sitting in the tree house staring up at the stars and thinking of Lacey. Just half an hour before, she had more or less told him what he had been praying to hear since the first day he saw her, yet it didn’t feel as good as he thought it would. There was something missing. Something that once taken is hard to get back. Something Mark had taken. Trust. And love.

Lacey cried and cried, for herself and for poor Ike. All she had put him through, she seriously wondered why he bothered. But unfortunately she knew why. She felt so sorry for him at that moment she would have given anything to love him, but it was just too far beyond her. It had been taken from her and she couldn’t seem to get it back. And the hatred she should have felt for Mark was not focused on him, but on the emptiness he’d left her. She cursed and hated the emptiness. The un-wholeness about her and the constant knowing something was missing. But most of all she hated not being able to love Ike. The way he wanted her too. The way she wanted too. As she cried, she knew she could not stay here in Tulsa. She had to go. She could not put Ike, or herself, through this anymore, it just wasn’t fair. Maybe she would come back, but for now she had to get her life back on track. Maybe she would come back for him, but for now she had to save herself. And Ike from the pain.

All that was left of Lacey was a note Ike found on his bedside table when he returned from Phoenix, a note that shattered his world, for the third time in the last two months.

Dear Ike,
You will never know how sorry I am for doing this, but please know it would have killed us both me staying here. I am leaving to save us because the reality is too heartbreaking to bear. I love you and I always will, but I need you to understand it can’t work. Not now anyway. Maybe I will come back for you, so please keep me in your heart, but for now I must go. I would kill myself over and over to undo the pain I have caused you and please know you are my soul, my angel, my everything.
I love you so much it hurts, but it hurts too much.
My soul mate,

By the time Ike was finished reading Lacey’s letter, the ink was so smudged he was unable to make it out. But he didn’t need to. He knew it by heart. And by broken heart.

On the long stretch of road between Tulsa and Kansas City, the tears in Lacey’s eyes could have flooded the stars out of heaven and the pain in her heart was searing like a hell fire.

Going, going gone

Tay sat down beside his older brother and ran his hands through his hair, pondering what to say. Ike was oblivious to the fact Taylor was even there. The past few days had killed Taylor, to see his brother like this. It was terrible, Ike was a mess. No one, not even his mom who was a pro with matters of the heart, could think of a single thing to say to help ease Ike’s pain. Tay cleared his throat. Ike didn’t even flinch. ‘Ike?’ No response. ‘Ike?’ Tay tried again. ‘Mmmmm?’ ‘Uh, how are you?’ Ike turned to his brother. ‘How do you reckon I am?’ he snapped. Tay recoiled as if he’d been slapped. ‘Sorry.’ He muttered. ‘Oh, Tay. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to snap at you!’ Ike apologized. ‘It’s ok.’ The two sat in silence for a minute or two. ‘You know, Lacey hated me to start with. She couldn’t stand any of us.’ Ike said, pulling his knees up to his chin. ‘Yeah. I thought she was a real bitch.’ ‘She apologized for that you know. At the lake that day.’ Tay nodded. ‘I told her I liked her then too. Maybe that’s why she left. Maybe she was scared of me.’ ‘No Ike. You know that’s not true. She loved you, she just lost the ability to be able to feel it. It wasn’t your fault. Or hers.’ Ike remained silent. ‘Ike?’ ‘Yeah Tay?’ ‘Me and Zac are always here for you. You know that, don’t you?’ ‘Thanks Tay. It means a lot to me.’ ‘Anytime.’ Tay stood and walked back into the house.

A few days later as Ike was packing his bag for Hanson’s short tour of the west coast, he came across Lacey’s letter which he had tucked safely behind his bed and out of the many prying Hanson eyes. Sighing, he slumped down on the bed and unfolded it. The writing was so badly smudged from the time he’d first read it, but he knew what it said anyway. ‘Oh Lace.’ He whispered to the empty bedroom. He wondered if she would come back for him, or if he’d never see her again. The possibility cut like a knife. A lifetime without Lacey. A nightmare. It had only been two weeks since she left, and three months since he’d first met her. It seemed like a whole lifetime. Before the tears could escape him, he folded the letter back up and placed it back behind his bed. ‘I miss you Lacey.’ He whispered softly.

Out of sight but never out of mind

With the help of his family and friends, Ike managed to pull out of his slump and go back to enjoying life. But out of sight was never out of mind and Lacey haunted his every moment. He longed for a letter, a phone call, anything to let him know she was alright, let him know she was missing him too. Even if she wasn’t. But none came. One good thing was that, somehow, the press had not found out about Lacey, or anything and no one hassled him about it. Fans were just fans and his private life, and turmoil, was his own.

The only time the two crossed was in the small print on the back of the ‘Shining’ CD cover, Hanson’s latest single. The tiny words stated;

Lacey, if you fall I will pick you up again, no matter how far away you are from me. Out of sight, but never out of mind, the place in my heart is still open if you ever decide to return. My heart, my soul, my everything.

Ike just hoped she’d buy a copy of the song he’d written her and she those words, that had taken him five minutes to write but a lifetime to say.

~ Shining ~©

……Your face is dark with shadows, your eyes have lost their shine,
you’re at war with your emotions and it’s not for the first time.
I don’t like to see you unhappy but there seems nothing I can do,
sometimes you open up to me other times I just can’t get through.
I know you think life’s a bitch and believe I feel the same way, I’m your friend and I want to help you someone please tell me what to say.
I know you don’t like to talk and find it hard to trust anyone, but you need to free yourself, it’s your turn in the sun.
You don’t have to feel like this, no one can force you to be this way,
you have every right to shine, every moment of the day.
So when times get too hard and shadows are closing fast,
remember always your friends are near and their friendship was built to last……

Ike knew he would never forget Lacey and vowed one day he would find her again, for better or for worse.


Ike jumped a mile as the phone jangled in his ear.
He had been a million miles away.
Four years away, but to him it may as well have been four billion light years.
‘Ah, hello?’
A pause.
‘I, uh, I’m sorry for hanging up op you.’
‘That’s ok.’
For wanting to talk to her for four years, Ike was far beyond words right at this moment.
‘Look, I really want to see you again.’ She whispered.
‘Me too.’
‘I’ll be in town next week.’
Ike’s emotions were burbling up inside him yet he could not force any into his voice.
‘Uh, maybe we could meet?’
‘Sure. How ‘bout Thursday? Hollywood Bowl park?’
‘Great. Time?’
‘Fine. I’ll be there.’
‘You’d better.’ Ike stifled a laugh.
‘I will.’
Another pause.
Ike thought he heard sniffling on the other end.
‘Ike. I missed you.’
‘Me too Lace, me too.’
And the line went dead.
‘You don’t know how good it was to hear your voice again.’ He whispered to the dial tone.
Tomorrow at two. The return to innocence.