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Chapter Thirteen
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Chapter Thirteen

Happy Birthday To You

April 18th, 1998

Tulsa, Oklahoma

 

            Kaitlynne woke up earlier than usual on a Saturday morning. Today was a special day. Not for her, but for Joni. Today was Joni’s seventeenth birthday. She got up, showered, and headed downstairs. She wanted to arrange something for her sister’s birthday, even if it was just a small get-together with the Hansons’; something to make Joni happy for one day. Ever since that day when she didn’t go to school, Joni had seemed to distance herself from everyone. Everyone except Isaac. She and Isaac had spent more time together these past three days than they had since they first met. Kaitlynne didn’t understand why Joni was acting the way she was. She had never been distant with her sister. Kaitlynne always knew when Joni wanted her space or to be alone, but this was ridiculous. Should she phone Isaac to ask what was wrong with her sister, or should she risk Joni turning her back on her, and ask her personally? She knew she would probably get a better response from Isaac, but she would rather hear it from her sister. Maybe she would ask Joni what was wrong when she woke up.

            Joni woke up two hours later, upon hearing the television downstairs. She got up, and went downstairs where she saw Kaitlynne sitting on the couch, watching Saturday Morning Cartoons. She flopped down in the loveseat, and stretched, watching Wyle E. Coyote trying, for what seemed like the millionth time, to catch the Road Runner for dinner. A light laugh escaped her as the Coyote lit himself on a rocket, only to crash into a cliff face.

            Kaitlynne looked at Joni confused. Did her sister just laugh while watching Saturday Morning Cartoons? This was a rarity. Maybe there was nothing wrong after all.

            A knock came at the door just then. Kaitlynne got up and answered it, to see Isaac standing on the front steps. She invited him inside, despite the fact her sister was still in her pajamas. Just as he stepped inside the living room, Joni threw her head back in laughter as the Coyote ran out of cliff, and plummeted to the road below, as the road runner ran away. Isaac and Kaitlynne exchanged a look of confusion. Joni never laughed that way, if at all.

            “Somebody’s in a good mood, this morning,” Isaac smiled, approaching his girlfriend.

            Joni looked up startled. She shot up. “Isaac!” she squealed. “What are you doing here? I’m not even dressed… Kaitlynne, why didn’t you tell me he was here?!”

            Isaac roared in laughter. “Joni, don’t worry about it. I have sisters who would run around in their pajamas all day if they had the chance.”

            “I know, but still… I’m not your sister,” Joni said, heading up the stairs.

            “No, but you are my girlfriend,” Isaac smiled.

            “But…” Joni protested. “I’m getting dressed.” And she disappeared into her room.

            Isaac looked at Kaitlynne. “What’s got her so happy? I mean, I know it’s her birthday, but she’s usually… you know…”

            Kaitlynne nodded. “Yeah, I know. I have no idea what’s going on. She just sat down, and started laughing. And it’s been so long since she’s watched the Saturday Morning Cartoons with me.”

            “Do you think she might be returning to normal?” Isaac asked.

            Kaitlynne shrugged. “I don’t know. This has happened before a couple of times, but then later on in the day, she changes.”

            Isaac nodded. He had seen that happen too. “Are you planning anything for her birthday?”

            “I was thinking about organizing just a little party for her tonight,” Kaitlynne answered. “Just your family and ours; nothing big. No school friends.”

            “Yeah, that would be best,” Isaac agreed. “She doesn’t need a big party. I’ll take her out somewhere today while you and my parents organize for the party. She likes classic cars right?”

            Kaitlynne nodded. “Yeah, she loves them.”

            “There’s an old car show going on today not too far from here,” Isaac said. “I think I might take her.”

            “She’d like that,” Kaitlynne said. “But don’t be surprised if you’re there for three or four hours. She likes to look at every single solitary car there.”

            Isaac laughed. “I know all about that. My dad and Taylor do the same thing. So do I when I get the chance come to think of it.” He rubbed the back of his neck.

            Kaitlynne laughed. “If her mood continues like this while you’re there, you won’t get a chance to sit down until you’re in the car again.”

            Isaac smiled. “Thanks for the warning.”

            “No problem.”

            Joni came downstairs now dressed, her hair pulled back in a neat ponytail. “What are you doing here at eight in the morning?” she asked.

            Isaac cocked his head to the side. “Do I not have the liberty of seeing my girlfriend when I want?”

            Joni smiled. “Of course, but normally you’d still be in bed at this time.”

            Isaac laughed. “Oh no. Zac is the one who stays in bed for a long as possible, or until mom gets him up. I’m usually the first one up, if ZoŽ hasn’t woken mom and dad up.”

            Joni laughed lightly. “Sounds like Kaity.” She strolled into the kitchen, opening the fridge. It was then that Isaac was playfully attacked by Corinna. Joni looked over to see Isaac sitting on the floor petting Corinna, while she covered his face in kisses. It wasn’t long before Calypso walked over to give Ike her loving. She laughed quietly. “Do you want any breakfast?” she asked.

            Isaac stood up, and entered the kitchen. “I was thinking about taking you out for breakfast.”

            “What?” Joni asked. “Why?”

            Isaac walked up behind her, and snaked his arms around her waist. “Because I’m your boyfriend, and it’s your birthday.”

            Joni playfully thought about Isaac’s suggestion. “Hmm… I guess that sounds like a good idea…”

            Isaac grabbed her hand immediately. “Good, now let’s go.” He dragged her to the door, and waited for her to get her coat and shoes on. He passed Kaitlynne a wink, before pulling Joni out the door and across the street to his car.

            Once the door was shut, Kaitlynne phoned Diana to arrange the party, which the Hanson mother was all for.

            Isaac started the car, and drove off into town. He looked over at Joni, who stared out the window. “So, where do you want to go for breakfast? We’ve got Mickey D’s, BK–”

            Joni shook her head. “No fast food places. Not for breakfast.”

            Isaac laughed. “Alright. We’ve got Gypsy’s.”

            Joni’s eyes lit up. She liked Gypsy’s. “Ooh. That sounds nice.”

            “Alright. Let’s go.”

            They got to Gypsy’s and found a table by the window. Isaac looked at Joni, watching her as she gazed out at the cars that passed by on the street outside. He laughed as she watched a 1959 Ford Thunderbird drive by. She clawed at the window.

            “I want… I want that car… that is my dream car…” She watched it pass by. “No, come back…”

            Isaac laughed. “You can’t have it, Joni.”

            She looked back at him. “I want that car.”

            “I know you do,” Isaac answered. “You’ve mentioned it several times.”

            Joni blushed, and shrugged.

            A waitress walked up to the table, and they quickly placed their orders, then waited for it to arrive.

            Isaac’s smile faded, and his eyes turned serious.

            Joni caught the look. “What is it, Ike?”

            “Have you told Kaitlynne yet?” he asked.

            She knew what he meant. She shook her head. “Not yet… I’m just not ready to.”

            “You’re going to have to tell her sooner or later,” Isaac said. “You’re what, almost a month right?”

            Joni nodded. “Yeah.”

            “It won’t be long before the morning sickness hits you, and you’re going to have to explain to her why you’re sick all the time, and missing school.”

            Joni sighed. “I know. I just don’t know how she’s going to react. I haven’t told Aunt Lynda and Uncle Jacob, or Kyle yet either. And I know Kyle deserves to know after what happened… I mean it wasn’t his fault… I just don’t know how they’re going to react.” She looked away.

            Isaac placed his hands over Joni’s on the table. “Joni, look at me.” She didn’t look at him. “Joni, darling, look at me.” He waited until her eyes met his. “You have to tell them. Kaitlynne’s your sister; she deserves to know. Lynda and Jacob are trying to look after you, and yes, Kyle needs to know. It was his party it happened at.” He paused. “I will be there with you every step of the way, Joni. When you tell Kaity, Lynda and Jacob, and Kyle, I will be by your side. You’re going to need somebody there, and I might as well be there. We’re in this together.”

            “But this isn’t your child, Ike,” Joni said. “It’s…”

            “It’s your child, Joni,” Isaac told her. “It does not belong to that son of a bitch who took your virginity.” He paused, looking at her in the eyes with deep sincerity. “Listen, I know I am not the father of this child, but I will help you through this. I am not the father, but if you need to be, I will be. You’re going to need help, Joni. You can’t raise a child on your own; you’re still a child yourself. I am going to be here with you to help you. And so will my mother. You know you can go to her for anything.”

            Joni sighed. “But what about your career? How are you and your brothers supposed to be Hanson if you’re at home fathering a child that’s not even yours? And what happens when you’re half way around the world? How often are you going to see the child?”

            Isaac leaned forward. “Joni, that doesn’t matter. Taylor and Zac will understand if I need to take a break from recording and touring. They know about what happened. Hell, Taylor was there when it happened. He was the one who called me. Nothing is going to change. I am going to be here for as long as you need me to. I will put my career on hold for you… and if you need me to, I can stop performing.”

            “No,” Joni said immediately. “No, you don’t need to stop doing what you love because of me. You and your brothers were born to perform, and you guys love doing it. I don’t want you to stop performing because I’m pregnant.”

            Isaac smiled inwardly. “Joni, I am going to be here for you. I’ve been here for the past four months, and I am going to continue to be.”

            Joni nodded. She didn’t know what else to say, so she said nothing.

            They ate, then Isaac headed for the antique car show.

            “Where are you taking me?” she asked as they passed the Tulsa City Limits sign.

            Isaac smiled. “You’ll see.”

            About a half hour later, Isaac pulled into the parking lot of the show. They got out of the car, and Joni immediately headed for where the cars were all lined up in several lines. Isaac laughed, trying to catch up with her.

            “Hey you, slow down,” he called.

            “No, you speed up,” Joni answered.

            Isaac smiled, and broke into a jog to catch up to his speeding girlfriend. Just as Kaitlynne had warned him, Joni started strolling up and down the aisles, stopping at every single solitary car to take a look in the windows.

            “Why didn’t you tell me?” Joni asked. “I would’ve brought my car down. I mean, I do have a 1964 Ford Mustang.”

            Isaac laughed. “And have everybody’s fingerprints all over the windows and the body? I think not.”

            “Oh shush up,” Joni gave him a playful backhand slap to his chest. “It gets like that everyday at school.” She continued on, looking at every single car parked in the lot. One of the car owners, the owner of a Delorean DMC 12 was letting people sit behind the wheel. Joni got in, while Isaac pulled out his camera.

            “Smile, Joni,” he cheered. She did, and he snapped a couple of photos of her inside the car. “Okay, my turn.”

Joni got out, and took Isaac’s camera as he got in behind the wheel. “Sweet… I feel like Michael J. Fox…”

            Joni laughed at Isaac’s reference to Back To The Future. She snapped a few pictures of Isaac, before he got out. They continued on, Joni stopping at every single car on the lot. Another owner, the owner of a light blue 1959 Ford Thunderbird, was also allowing people to sit behind the wheel of the car. This was Joni’s favourite car.

            “My car,” she cooed once behind the wheel. “I want it.”

            Isaac laughed. “I don’t think you can have it, sweetie.” He snapped a couple of pictures. She got out of the car, and let Isaac sit in it.

            “Ah man,” Joni whined playfully. “But this car is so sexy… Now all I need is a sexy guy to go with it.”

            Isaac grinned. “I’m sitting in it, ain’t I?”

            Joni laughed, taking a couple of pictures. She pulled him out of the car, and into a hug. “Are you trying to tell me something? Are you trying to tell me you think you’re sexy?”

            Isaac snickered into her hair. “Maybe.”

            She gave him a playful slap, then headed for the other cars.

            After wandering down every single solitary row, looking at every single solitary car, Isaac and Joni headed back home. Isaac was tired and had sore feet, while Joni was still bustling with energy. He threw her the keys.

            “I’m driving home am I?” Joni asked.

            Isaac nodded. “Yep. I’m too tired, and considering you’re still bustling with energy, I think it is a safe bet to have you drive.”

            Joni smiled, and got behind the wheel. She started up the car, and started home. Isaac turned the radio on, a smile on his lips as he just caught the beginning of the birthday shout outs the local station gave every day. The announcer went through about five or six before he got to the last one, Joni’s.

            “And a huge happy seventeenth birthday goes out to Joni Donnahue from your boyfriend. I love you and I will always be there for you. All my love, Isaac Hanson.”

            Joni stared at Isaac. “What? Why did you do that? Now everyone in Tulsa will know I’m dating you!”

            Isaac laughed. “Don’t worry, Joni. It was going to come out sooner or later. The fans always find out. A couple of fans have already found out, and played twenty questions with me. They were asking everything about you. I think they were satisfied with what I told them.”

            “Isaac,” Joni whined. “How could you?”

            “I had to. You’re dating me, and it’ll only be a matter of time before you too will be bombarded by our fans… and they would find out anyway.”

            Joni sighed. There was nothing she could do now. “How will they react to me?”

            Isaac shrugged. “Well, most will be respectful, but there will be those few that will not like you at all. Once they see you out with me and the band, they’ll get to know you, and when they see how much I love you, they’ll be happy. As long as we’re happy, then the fans are happy.”

            Joni shook her head. “And they’ll see that I’m pregnant, and they’ll point fingers are you.”

            “Let them point,” Isaac said. “If they think I’m the father, then to them I am. I don’t care, Joni. All that matters right now is that I love you, and I am going to be there for you whenever you need me. Even when you don’t need me, I’ll be there. Okay?”

            Joni nodded. “I know. And thank you.”

            They drove the rest of the way home in silence.

            Kaitlynne watched the car pull into the Hansons’ driveway, and shushed everybody. “She’s coming. She and Ike are across the street. Hide.”

            Taylor turned all of the lights off, then ran with Kaitlynne and Avery to hide behind the couch. Diana and Walker hid in the kitchen, while trying to keep ZoŽ quiet. Zac, Mackie and Jessica scrambled behind the loveseat. They waited in silence for Joni and Isaac to come through the front door. Avery started to laugh as Joni put her key in the lock, and Taylor had to put a hand over her mouth to keep her quiet.

            “Shh, Avie,” Taylor whispered. “This is a surprise.”

            The front door opened.

            “I thought Kaity was here… Why is it so dark?” Joni asked. She turned on the light.

            “Surprise!!!” Everyone came out from their hiding places, and greeted Joni with happy birthdays and lots and lots of hugs. Streamers were strung down the banister of the stairs, over the mantle in the living room, everywhere. Presents sat on the couch and loveseat.

            “Who arranged this?” Joni asked, awed.

            “Kaitlynne did,” Isaac answered. “This morning. She brought it up when I came over.”

            Joni looked at Isaac. “So, that’s why you dragged me out of the house at eight in the morning.”

            Isaac grinned and nodded. “Yep.”

            “Get settled guys, the burgers are almost ready,” Walker smiled, heading outside to where he was barbequing.

            “Burgers?” Joni asked. “We’re having a barbeque?”

            “Sort of,” Zac laughed. “Dad’s cooking, but we’re eating inside.”

            Joni shrugged. “Whatever. Thanks guys.”

            They ate the burgers, then sat around the living room while Joni opened her gifts. A couple of picture frames from Walker and Diana, a necklace with a little loop as the top, called an Ankh, and a cross necklace from Taylor, The Moffatts Chapter 1: A New, Beginning both American and Canadian Editions, from Jessica, Titanic from Mackenzie, a homemade, three-colour string bracelet from Avery, a little white teddy bear from ZoŽ, Hanson’s Boomerang, MMMBop, Middle of Nowhere, and 3CG CDs from Zac, and a locket with a picture of her parents on one side, and her and Kaitlynne on the other, from Kaitlynne. Isaac was last to give his gift to her.

            He decided to give it to her when everybody was busy with music and the actual party. He guided her out to the backyard, where he reached into his pants pocket, pulling out a small black box. Joni looked at it in confusion. What the hell was this boy doing? He opened the box, to reveal a golden rose pendant necklace, with a diamond in the centre of the rose. On the back of the pendant, the words, Isaac and Joni forever were engraved. Joni was speechless as Isaac added it to the locket, broken heart, and wedding rings around her neck.

            “Wow…” she finally managed. “It’s beautiful… Isaac, why?”

            “Because I love you, and you deserve only the best from me,” Isaac replied.

            Joni gave him a hug. “Oh, Isaac… Just you being with me is enough. I got to celebrate my birthday with you. It’s enough for me.”

            Isaac sighed. “I know, but I just can’t help but think that you deserve more.”

            “I don’t need anything more,” Joni said. She took his hands. “Now, why don’t we go back inside and enjoy the party?”

            Isaac smiled. “Okay.” He let her lead him inside, where Kaitlynne asked about the pendant, then cooed over how sweet Isaac was for giving it to her sister.

            Everyone left at around ten o’clock, leaving Joni in a pile of presents, and fairly tired.

            “Thanks, Kaity,” Joni smiled. “I needed this.”

            Kaitlynne nodded. “I know you did. And you’re welcome.”

            After talking for another hour, the two girls headed upstairs to bed.

Chapter Fourteen