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Your Life Is a Map With No Compass

Chapter Thirteen

It only took a day and a half for everything to be shot to shit. Zack is currently crying in his bunk, Alex is in the back lounge getting drunk off his ass, Matt is officially fired, and Rian is just sitting at the table in the front lounge with his head in his hands.
“How could you just do that, Jack? Jus go ahead and fire Matt without asking any of us first?” Rian looks up at me, his brown eye filled with worry. “We can’t survive without Matt.”
“Oh, so you think it was perfectly fine for him to say all those things to Zack. You think it was fine for him to call Zack stupid, and a pain in the ass, and a nuisance. You think that was okay?” I’m still seeing red at Matt’s words, the way he stumbled onto the bus drunk and started screaming when Zack told him that he couldn’t change the movie, because we were watching Back To the Future and Zack has to watch it every week because he did it with his dad when he was still around. I can’t forget the look on Zack’s face when he heard that word. Stupid. He hates that word. I can’t forget how his face crumpled. How he held his hands over his ears to try and block out the sound of Matt’s yelling and how he squeezed his eyes shut tight so he wouldn’t have to look at Matt, or at me, or at any of us.
“No, Jack. Of course it wasn’t okay. Of course it was awful. But look at us! He’s only been gone for an hour and Alex is getting so drunk that he can’t even stand anymore. He’s just lying on the couch drinking bottle after bottle of god knows what and he won’t talk to any of us. You may not need Matt, be we all sure as hell know that Alex does, and that I do. And Jesus Christ Jack, Zack does too.”
We’re quiet for a moment, and all I can hear is the sound of broken sobs and loud swallowing. “Jack, you know how Zack talks about his dad?” Rian lowers his voice to make sure Zack doesn’t hear us. “He talks about him like he was the best person in the world, even though he left him when he was nine fucking years old. And you and I both know that Rob Merrick said some really awful things to his son. Way worse than what Matt just said.” Rian rubs his hands over his face before continuing. “And yet, Zack misses him. More than anything. Do you want that to happen again? Because yes, Matt was terrible just then, but do you know how much Zack will miss him?”
I hate the fact that Rian is right. I just want to be able to stand by my decision and not go running back to Matt so fucking soon and beg him to come back to us. But Zack needs him here more than he needs him gone. And I’ll do anything for Zack. Anything.
“I’m going to go talk to Zack. Can you at least try to get Alex under control, at least a little bit?” Rian sighs and nods, knowing that he just won, them walks through the bunk hallway to Alex. I can hear his quiet voice and Alex’s loud, slurred one.
Zack is lying with his back facing me. Not just his blankets but his sheets too, are pushed down to the bottom of the bunk, leaving him lying on the bare mattress. I climb in next to him and pull the curtain shut, then run my hands up and down his back. He doesn’t even acknowledge me.
“Hey Zack.” I press a kiss to his shoulder. “Are you okay?” I kiss him again, on the side of his neck this time, and he leans his neck onto his shoulder so that I can’t do it again. “I’m sorry that Matty was so mean to you and-”
“He wasn’t being mean to me.” Zack still doesn’t turn around to look at me. “He was just being honest.”
“No, Zack.” I finally just give up my attempt to let him be in control of the situation and lift myself up so that I’m leaning on his side and looking straight at him. “None of those things are true. You are not annoying, you are not a nuisance, and you are not stupid.”
“Yes I am!” Zack pushes me off of him and then looks down at me. “You’re the one who’s being mean to me, because you’re lying to me, and you’re trying to make me think things that aren’t true. Why can’t you just tell me the truth!” Zack nails dig into his arm, and I grab his hands before he can push hard enough to draw blood.
I know that I won’t get anywhere with him with this, not right now. So, in typical Jack Barakat fashion, I abruptly change the subject. “Zack, do you want Matt to stay here, with us?” Zack nods, tears falling down his face.
“I don’t want him to leave me like Dad did.” And that line right there is the one that breaks my heart. I pull Zack against me and bury my face in his hair. I can feel tears hitting the crook of my neck.
“He won’t, baby. I promise you that he won’t.” I pull my face back and look at Zack. “You’re not stupid, honey. You’re the smartest person I know. You can do math problems that I can only dream about, you can read books about topics I don’t even understand. You can write melodies so beautiful that they make our fans cry. You can’t be stupid if you can do all that.”
“But I can never understand how you play football, or why I always have to walk on the right side of the sidewalk, and I can never to talk to people that I don’t know. I don’t understand so many things that everybody else does. Doesn’t that make me stupid?”
“No, Zack. That’s just the way you are. Just because your brain is different than mine or Matt’s or Rian’s doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work.” And then something amazing happens because Zack’s lips are on mine and mine are on his and I don’t know how we got here but I do know that I want this to last forever.
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Heyyyy! So here's another chapter, I'm sorry for the kind of long wait. School started then I got sick then I had a lot of homework and now I'm sick again and I've been pretty busy. On the brightside though, I went to House Party on tuesday and I got to meet All Time Low because I won a meet and greet spot and it was the best experience of my life. It was my first time meeting them and I got really nervous and they were all really nice but I was like super nervous to talk to Zack so when my friend pulled me towards him I sort of ran away. But then I finally went over to him and he was super nice to me and hugged me and he smelled really good and it was great. Also, I was on the barrier for every act except for the wonder years and when ptv played I was right in front of Jaime the whole time and he smiled at me alot and it was amazing. Yeah sorry for rambling.
Anyway! Comment, subscribe, rec, do whatever the fuck you guys want. I love you all.