Love, Save the Empty

chapter two.

On the Pacific Coast Highway, friendly people go to and from their daily lives and leisure spending locations. The ocean is a glistening blue, and the waves are particularly high today. A colorful rainbow of towels and umbrellas and swim suits line the shore and coast of southern California. It's peaceful. This is a life, and love, and the happiness that you can get no where else.

Well, it is peaceful except in one house. The house of one particular Brian Haner, Jr.

He sits on the black leather couch of his living room, his brown eyes staring into the bright hazel of the little girl in front of him. Audrey. Audrey Pierce. Daughter of Nina Pierce, and apparently himself. He sees Nina, the hair color and eyes, but then he sees himself and his dad in Audrey too.

There's the pointed, yet rounded nose. The high cheek bones and fair skin. The round eyes that will one day break so many hearts ...

Brian's knee bounces, and he's thinking about so many things. That night, at prom. She said she was put on the pill. He wore a condom.

But condoms break, and pills are only ninety-eight percent effective. And now he's shaking his head, running a hand through his dark hair before voicing his thoughts.

"No, it can't be. Nina was not pregnant when we split up and she moved away. Besides, she would have told me!"

Or would she have? The guys were just starting out, and were actually doing demos and trying to hook up gigs. Maybe... maybe she kept it from him to save his career?

"No! You're not my daughter," he says finally, standing from the couch and walking away. He hears a soft sigh from the girl as he walks into the kitchen, Pinkly at his heels. There's a cold beer sitting in the fridge calling his name. Brian grabs it, his mind still being pulled two thousand different ways as he tries to explain this to himself.

"She wrote you a note," Audrey says, coming into the kitchen, speaking with a nonchalant tone of voice. Brian's dark eyebrow raises as he presses the beer bottle to his lips and takes a long drag of it. He needs a cigarette more than anything right now, but he ran out last night. He will need to get some as soon as possible.

"Oh, a note, huh?" he mumbles, taking the folded piece of paper she slid over the island counter top as she parked her little bottom into a stool chair. It's typed, in some frilly italic font that he knew Nina would pick. But its just typed. There's no signature or handwriting that he can claim is hers.

Brian, I know this is a big surprise, but Audrey is your daughter. I need you to watch her for a month, it's a family emergency. I will explain everything when I get back. Nina.

"Anyone with a computer and a brain can type this, kid," he says bluntly, slapping the piece of paper back on the counter. His beer is going back to his lips, and the chilled liquid slips down his throat and into his digestive track. Audrey sighs again, closing her pretty hazel eyes and looks back into one of the bags that she has on her shoulder.

Audrey pulls out a large manila folder and hands it to him. "I've also got my birth certificate. It has your name on it."

Brian rolls his eyes and snatches the folder from her. She slips out of the kitchen stool and walks farther into his house. Opening the folder, Brian is met with Audrey's birth certificate. There is her full name, Audrey Jane Pierce, her birthday February 14th, 2000, and then her parents' names:

Mother: Nina Marietta Pierce; Father: Brian Elwin Haner Jr.

And if Brian is correct, there's only one Brian Elwin Haner Jr. in the world.

It's signed, and sealed, and stamped, and has every necessary identifications that it is legit. Brian doesn't know what to do. He simply looks up, seeing Audrey through the door opening. She's standing at the mantle by his fireplace, looking up at all the pictures Michelle has framed. His gold record is hanging to the right; a picture of himself, his dad, Brent, McKenna and Suzy is hanging on the other.

"Oh, cool!" Audrey says suddenly, and Brian skirts around the island to see what she's found. Audrey has her eyes glued on his collection of Schecter guitars. He mumbles a quick, "don't touch," before grabbing his cellphone and hitting speed dial. The one person who he knows can make this better is on the other line after three rings.

"Hey, Syn, what's up?"

"We got a problem."

There's no other words spoken between the best friends, before there's a dial tone and Brian is finding himself waiting at the door. Audrey has moved on from eyeing his guitars to playing with Pinkly. He watches her, unsure of what to do but said there with his arms crossed. And then his front door his opened, and in walks a dark haired, freakishly tall, glasses wearing band mate.

"What's up, Bry?"

"Her." Brian simply replies to Jimmy before moving out of the way to show the little golden haired, hazel eyed ten year old that is currently playing with his little white Maltese.

"Oh, shit," Jimmy says, fixing his dark framed glasses to look at the little girl that is sitting in his best friend's living room. "Uh... who is she?"

"Apparently, mine," Brian mumbles, rubbing his face and then running a hand through his messy bed hair.

"How?" Jimmy asks, stepping forward to get a better look at the little girl. He squats, now a mere seven feet away, and still towers over her.

"You know how babies are made, Rev," Brian snaps, grumbling under his breath. There's a scoff, and then Jimmy's got one of his silly Reverend Tholomew Plague grins on.

"I mean, with who?"

Brian stiffens, knowing Jimmy knows all about Nina and him. He wanted to spend the rest of his life with that girl, yet their fight ... Their fight ruined it all. Brian mumbles Nina's name under his breath. Jimmy frowns suddenly, but its quickly replaced by an annoyed, amused look.

"Sorry, couldn't hear their Gates," he taunts his best friend, and Brian sighs, hiding his eyes with his hand.

"Nina," Brian says, and the one word surprises Jimmy more than it did Brian.

"No fucking kidding," Jimmy mumbles, turning his attention back to the little girl in front of him. "Hey, uh, kid," he says, his lisps making him stumble over his words slightly. Audrey looks up, surprised by the new company. "What's your name?"

"Audrey..." she says slowly, looking at Jimmy and then back at the man she says is her father.

"Hey, Mini Gates, I'm the Rev. You can call me Jimmy though. When's your birthday?"

"February fourteen," she tells him. Jimmy does some quick math in his head.

"Nine months after prom month..." he mumbles, looking up at Brian with big blue smirking eyes over the frame of his glasses.

"Well, Bry, everything points to Mini Gates being your kid. What do you want? A fraternity test?"

"Yes!" Brian says suddenly, jumping at any chance to prove that this little nine year old isn't his daughter. He's okay with needles - he's got more tattoos than he can count on his fingers and toes.

Audrey frowns, standing up and crossing her arms. "Whatever."

Brian is suddenly running to his room to pull on a pair of jeans and a tshirt. He slips into a pair of riding boots and pulls on a leather jacket. He walks back into his living room, slipping on his bandanna and aviators, finding Jimmy and Audrey softly talking to one another.

"Don't start corrupting her," he mumbles, pulling Jimmy by the collar of his shirt away from Audrey. The man grins, gives a two finger salute and walks out of Brian's house.

"Don't forget about meeting the rest of the guys at the studio!" Jimmy yells over his shoulder before Brian is left alone with Audrey. He groans. They were already recording for their next album, but they were also getting last minute wedding plans for Matt and Val figured out. The two would be married in only two weeks time and time was quickly crunching away. He hoped he could get this over with by now.

"Come on, we'll go by the studio before we head to the hospital," Brian mumbles. Audrey nods and walks behind him. Pinkly is given a stern 'stay' by Brian before he locks the door to his house and goes to his Harley. He throws a leg over the leather seat and looks over at Audrey. She stands five feet away, eyes wide and her arms clutching her doll tightly. He frowns.

"What? Hurry up and get on."

"But I'm only nine! It's not safe for me to be on a motorcycle. And aren't you supposed to be wearing a helmet? There's no seatbelt! I could fall off! I would die if we were in an accident!"

Brian groans, reaching under the back seat to grab his helmet and he pops it onto her golden head. "There, now get on," he tells her, scooting back slightly and patting the space between the handlebars and his body. He'll be her own personal seatbelt.

Audrey is reluctant at first, before she nods, and gets onto the bike. She needs Brian's help at first, but soon they're driving down PCH, with Audrey pressed tight to his chest, and the recording studio getting closer and closer. Goddamn, what was he going to tell the guys?
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chapter two is up! :) I would like to thank my new friend Ruth for commenting and giving me the motivation to write again, haha. I hope to have another chapter out this weekend. So sorry for the wait, work has been major hectic and I've been really tired.

enjoy! xoxo.