May 2nd, 1998
Isaac pulled into the driveway at about 3:00 in the morning. He was quiet as he unlocked the door and crept inside,
careful not to wake anyone up. He locked the door behind him and started towards the stairs. As he passed the living room,
he noticed that the TV was on and, not seeing anyone in the room, he decided to go turn the TV off. When he passed the couch,
he saw Zac laying there, asleep. He smiled, pulling the blanket off the back of the couch and laying it over Zac. After turning
off the TV, Isaac started to head upstairs but stopped when he heard Zac call his name.
“Yeah?” he asked, walking back towards the couch.
“Joni called earlier. She’s started the morning sickness. I promised her I’d tell you that she called.”
“Alright. Do you think she’d be asleep?”
“Nah, but calling the house will wake everyone else up. You should go over there if you’re that desperate
to see her.”
“Yeah, I will. Thanks. You can go to bed now.”
“I was planning on it,” Zac chuckled, arising from the couch and heading towards the stairs. “She
hasn’t told Lynda and Jacob,” he informed Isaac, turning halfway up the stairs.
“I know. She’ll tell them when she’s ready.”
Zac headed up to bed and Isaac grabbed his key, heading back out the door. He walked across the street, after he had
locked the door, and knocked on the all-too-familiar Donnahue door. He waited a few minutes. When nobody answered the door,
he started to walk away; then there was a loud bang from inside the house. He was sure that it wasn’t loud enough to
wake up Lynda or Jacob, but Kaity was a light sleeper, so he knew she’d wake up for sure. He tried the door and, finding
that it was unlocked, raced inside. After not finding Joni upstairs or down, he started to panic slightly. floor with a bottle
of whiskey on the bar. Joni was giggling like mad. Kaitlynne appeared in the doorway seconds later.
“Ike?” she asked, rubbing the sleep from her eyes.
“It’s me, Kaity. It’s alright.”
“You’re gonna be in big trouble if my aunt and uncle find you here.”
“Why?” Isaac asked.
“They think you’re the one that got Joni pregnant.”
“What?!” Isaac shrieked as quietly as possible.
“Yeah. Joni told them you weren’t but they basically called her a liar,” Kaitlynne explained. “What
Isaac ignored the last statement. He had to find Joni. He looked at Kaitlynne. “Kaity, where is Joni? She’s
not upstairs or here. Where is she?”
Kaitlynne thought for a moment. Where would Joni have gone? The argument from last night replayed in her mind; Joni
had been pretty angry. She then realized where her sister would’ve gone. “Oh God…”
“What is it?” Isaac asked quickly.
“We have a bar downstairs,” Kaitlynne said. “Joni was really angry at Aunt Lynda. She was really
Worry built up inside of him. He hated that feeling. He had felt it when his grandmother died, when he had chased Taylor
into that glass door when they were kids, and when Taylor had broken his elbow. “Oh shit.” He took off for the
basement, Kaitlynne on his heels. Joni and bad moods did not mix well. They got downstairs to see Joni sprawled on the floor
in front of the bar, with a bottle of whiskey on the bar. Joni was giggling like mad.
“I think Joni’s drunk again,” Isaac informed
Kaitlynne rolled her eyes, but Isaac knew she was trying not to cry. “Can we take your car?”
Figuring that this could be payback for them not believing Joni and save Isaac from getting in trouble, Kaitlynne didn’t
even bother to leave a note; only grabbed a key and left the house, locking the door behind her. She followed Isaac, carrying
Joni, across the street and got in the passenger seat. Isaac laid Joni in the back seat and got behind the wheel.
The whole way to the hospital, Isaac tried his hardest not to cry. He hoped to God that Kaitlynne didn’t know
how dangerous her sister drinking while she was pregnant could be. He knew. He hated that Joni would do such a thing. Was
her goal to harm the baby? Did she not want it? Isaac knew that it was hard, but did she really not want the baby and think
she had to go to that length just to make everything right again? He was beyond confused.
Isaac was barely able to carry Joni inside and help Kaitlynne fill out the paperwork before he excused himself to step
outside a moment. He quickly walked to his car before he broke down. He knew the baby wasn’t his, but he felt like it
was; he hoped the baby was okay. It only took him a couple minutes to calm down, but he stayed in the car for a few minutes
longer to make sure there was no evidence of him crying. When he believed he looked somewhat presentable for this early hour,
he got out, locked the car, and headed inside again.
“Isaac, what’s wrong?” Kaity asked, concerned, when she saw him.
“Nothing… just tired, I guess…” Isaac lied.
“Bull,” she fought, “Tired doesn’t make your eyes red and puffy. Were you crying?”
Crap, Isaac thought. “…Yeah,” he admitted after a couple seconds.
“I dunno… Joni’s pregnant. She shouldn’t be drinking. Maybe she was trying to kill the baby.”
“Ike, no. She wasn’t. Maybe she just didn’t know. Do you know how pissed off she got at Lynda and
Jacob sticking up for that baby? I’ve never seen her that angry with anyone. She wants this baby, Ike. She does.”
“Are you serious?”
“Why wouldn’t I be, Isaac? This is a serious matter…”
“Yeah, you’re right.”
Their conversation was interrupted by the doctor clearing his throat and speaking.
“It looks like she’s going to be just fine, but we’re going to have to keep her here tonight to make
“And the baby?” Isaac asked.
“The baby’s fine, too,” the doctor smiled, “Is it yours?”
“No. But I’m going to help her with it.”
“You’re a good friend.”
“Oh. Terribly sorry.”
“It’s alright,” Isaac grinned.
The doctor smiled one last time before walking towards one of the nearby rooms.
“You ready, kiddo?” Isaac asked Kaitlynne.
Kaitlynne and Isaac headed out to the car and Isaac unlocked it, both of them climbing inside. The ride back was silent
for a while. Neither Kaitlynne or Isaac spoke. The radio wasn’t even on; a rarity for Isaac. Getting sick of the silence
and not wanting to face her aunt and uncle just yet, Kaitlynne spoke up.
“Ike, can I stay with you guys for a while?”
“You’ll have to double check with my mom, but I’m sure it will be fine,” he assured, “Why?”
“They forbid you and Joni from seeing each other and I really don’t want to face them since it’s
8:30 in the morning and they’re most likely trying to hunt down Joni. I want you or your mom or someone there when they
As soon as they pulled in the driveway, Lynda and Jacob were racing out of the house and across the street.
“Kaitlynne! Thank God! Where were you?” Lynda asked.
“I went with Isaac for a while.”
“Good Lord. He didn’t get you pregnant too, did he?”
“Aunt Lynda!” Kaitlynne screeched.
“I didn’t…” Isaac started to defend himself.
“You shut up, Isaac Hanson,” Lynda cut him off.
Isaac closed his mouth and watched as they scolded Kaitlynne for not leaving a note or calling or anything to let them
know where she was. He wanted to help her out, he really did. He just couldn’t help when the people scolding her wouldn’t
even let me speak. When they were done scolding her, Kaitlynne backed up so she was standing by Isaac again. His older brother
sensors kicked in when he saw the terrified look on her face.
“Where’s Joni?” Lynda asked.
“I can’t tell you,” Kaitlynne mumbled in Lynda’s direction.
“You can’t tell me?! I’m your legal guardian and…”
“Shut up, Lynda Donnahue!” Isaac screamed causing Kaitlynne to look up at him in shock.
“I said shut up. I’d spell it for you, but you’d understand that even less than me saying it.”
It took all Kaitlynne had not to laugh. She knew that Isaac was serious, but what he was saying was probably true.
He put a hand on her shoulder and tried to lead her towards his house, keeping his eyes on Lynda, but she refused to go. Isaac
and Lynda spat back and forth for a while before it became ridiculous. Kaitlynne knew Isaac would scold her for what she was
about to say, but sometimes the truth hurts.
“Ike, hush,” she insisted, “It’s my turn.”
“Isaac, I deserve a say.”
He gave up, but stood behind her.
“Truth is, Lynda, you don’t deserve to have kids. You’re a great aunt to have come and visit every
once in a while, but when you have to watch over kids on your own, you become a real bitch! You’re too afraid of commitment
to have kids. Uncle Jacob, he’s fine. He got disappointed, but when he found out Joni was pregnant, he wanted to know
who was going to help raise the child. You banned who you thought was the father. Big help you
are. The only reason you took us in is because Uncle Jacob wanted to! I’m not as stupid as you think!”
Isaac’s jaw hit the ground and Lynda reared back and slapped Kaitlynne square on the cheek. Kaitlynne knew that
after someone, even an elder, made the first move, her punch would be considered self-defense. With that in mind, she hooked
with her right arm and left a nice purple bruise on her aunt’s jaw. By then, Walker and Diana had come outside. Actually,
they had come outside about the time Kaitlynne said that she wasn’t as stupid as Lynda thought, but that wasn’t
important at the moment. Walker ran – yes, ran – to where they were and pulled Kaitlynne away from Lynda just
as she leaned in to punch back. Walker claimed a black eye, but he didn’t seem to mind. He told Isaac to take Kaitlynne
inside and call Jason, the bodyguard.
“Jason?” Isaac asked once he had dialed the phone and gotten an answer.
“Ike, my man! What’s up?”
“Listen, I know you’re off today, but we really need you here. I don’t have time to explain, but
get here quick. Please.”
“Sure thing. I’m on my way.”
“Thanks!” Isaac replied, hanging up and turning to Kaitlynne. “Are you alright? She slapped you pretty
“I’m fine. I think I did more damage than she did.”
“Yeah,” he agreed, laughing. “You have a nice right hook. I didn’t think you had it in you.”
“I didn’t either,” Kaitlynne answered truthfully.
“Speaking of… bad choice of wording. You know that if this goes to court, she can get you for that, right?”
“Freedom of speech, Ike. Truth hurts.”
“True. And you were right.”
Isaac laughed and led Kaitlynne to the den. She cuddled up on the couch with a blanket and soon fell asleep.
Taylor had heard everything outside, but had stayed in bed, knowing that Isaac had it covered. When he finally did
get up, he went outside to find Jason, Lynda, Jacob, and his dad on the front lawn. He stayed there a couple minutes to witness
what was going on before he decided to go into the den and watch some TV. To his surprise, Kaitlynne was asleep on the couch.
Taylor smiled and got on his knees by the couch. He leaned against the seat of the couch and brushed a few strands of hair
out of her face. That was when he saw the light bruise on her cheek. Worried, he shook her awake. She was startled at first,
but when she realized who it was, she calmed down.
“Morning Beautiful,” Taylor replied, forcing a smile, “What happened to your cheek?”
“Lynda slapped me. How can you tell?”
“There’s a slight bruise.”
“You can get a bruise from being slapped?”
“Yeah… if you’re slapped hard enough.”
“Hmm. That’s kinda cool.”
“No, Kaitlynne. It’s not. Not when you have a bruise from being slapped.”
Kaitlynne only shrugged.
“You look tired.”
“Well, go back to sleep. I just wanted to make sure you were okay.”
“It’s not night,” Kaitlynne laughed before drifting off to sleep.
Taylor stayed with his head rested on the couch for a few minutes before heading into the kitchen for breakfast. When
he got in the kitchen, he found Isaac at the table, pushing cereal around in a bowl. Taylor grabbed a bowl and a spoon and
sat down across from Isaac, pouring himself some of the cereal and milk that was already on the table. Once he had taken a
few bites, he looked expectantly at Isaac. It took him a while to notice, but finally Isaac felt his brother’s stares
and looked up. He forced a smile before looking back down at his bowl.
“What happened. I know Lynda slapped Kaity, but what else happened?”
“Joni got drunk again. I’m worried about the baby.”
“But that’s not all that’s worrying you, is it?”
Isaac was hesitant but finally shook his head. “No.”
“What’s up?” Taylor was concerned.
“I think Joni and Kaity might have to move away,” Isaac answered softly. “I heard Dad talking to
Jason and they were saying something about abuse and losing custody. I’m worried…” He paused, trying not
to start on a worried rant like he had a habit of doing. “Who will help Joni take care of the baby if they move? Will
we even be dating still? Tay, this is scaring the hell out of me. What if they really do have to move? I don’t think
I can live without Joni.” The thought of living without Joni tore him apart.
“You have before,” Taylor pointed out.
“But now that I have her, I can’t lose her. I know she’s not perfect, but I love her, Tay. I really
Taylor nodded. He had noticed the change in Ike since Joni had moved back in January. “I know.”
“And what about you and Zac. Whether or not you or anyone else knows it, Zac and Kaity are pretty much best friends.
All those times me and you were in the studio and they didn’t need Zac, what do you think he was doing. Mom told me
that he and Kaity always talked and played video games.”
“Really? I always assumed he was with Dana. Aren’t they going out still?”
Isaac shook his head. “They broke up two months ago, Tay.”
“Yeah,” Isaac laughed, “Come on, man. You’re slacking. I’m totally wrapped up with Joni
and I knew that!”
“Hush,” Taylor scowled.
“Well, sorry to leave you all by your lonesome, but I didn’t get any sleep at all. I found Joni as soon
as I got home from the studio, so I’m dead tired.”
“Alright. I guess I’ll watch TV or something until Kaity gets up.”
Isaac started off to the stairs, but turned.
“Hey, uh… Tay?”
“Don’t be overprotective of Kaitlynne, okay?” Isaac instructed before heading up the stairs.
Taylor wasn’t quite sure what he meant at that moment, but as he watched Kaitlynne sleep and gazed at the bruise
on her cheek, he realized what Isaac had meant. Don’t ask about what went on. Isaac knew that Kaitlynne would tell Taylor
if she wanted him to know. Taylor now realized that. He knew he shouldn’t worry. Bruise or no bruise, he knew Kaitlynne
could hold her own. He made a mental note to make Kaitlynne feel more loved than she ever had. Now especially. First her parents
died and now her aunt had slapped her and her sister was drinking all the time. She needed his love, not his protection. He
realized that if she felt loved, she wouldn’t get into drinking or anything like Joni had. That was how he had to protect
As the credits of whatever show was on flashed across the screen, Taylor started to nod off to sleep, leaning against
the couch and thinking ‘How the Hell did Isaac get so smart?’