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Your Life Is a Map With No Compass

Chapter Six

When Zack shakes me awake the next morning, he’s got on his tourbus smile and his oversized New Found Glory hoodie and looks absolutely adorable. “Jack, look outside!” Zack is practically bouncing up and down he’s so excited, and I can’t help but grin and let him pull me out of the bunk and into the front lounge, where, as usual, Matt is sitting on the couch with his laptop, his eyebrows furrowed and his trademark bitch look covering his face. I think back to last night, when Vinny managed to bring down the entire shelf of alcohol behind the bar of the club we were at. Just another thing that needs to be paid for.
“Look, Jack! Look!” Zack points at the window, and when I look out all I see is browning grass and a small house here and there. Nothing worthy of Zack’s excitement.
“What, Babe? I don’t see anything?” Zack groans and rolls his eyes, then points again.
“Hills, Jack, there are hills everywhere!” Oh, now I get it. Hills. Skateboarding. Zack. Right. “I can skate on them!” Zack drops down on the couch, his grin splitting his face apart. “I’m so excited to get there.” I sit down next to him and wrap my arm around his shoulder.
“I’m excited for you, Zack. You’re going to have so much fun.”
“GODFUCKINGDAMNIT! VINNY!” Matt’s face is red as a tomato, his fists clenched tightly as he stares at his computer screen. I guess the damages are a little more expensive than he thought they we’re going to be. A quick look at Zack is all I need to let me know that he doesn’t like Matt screaming. Not at all.
“Matt.” I say calmly, quietly. “Stop screaming.” I nod my head at Zack, who looks terrified as he hides behind my shoulder. Matt stares at Zack for a minute, then at me, then back at his computer screen. Then he just fucking loses it.
And that’s when Zack fucking loses it. “No, Matt, you can’t! Vinny can’t wake up yet! It’s not allowed! Rian has to wake up before him! And it’s not 8:45 yet! It’s only 8:37!” Zack is crying so hard that he can’t breathe. I wrap my arms around him, but he just pushes me away and curls up into a ball.
Everyone is awake now-how couldn’t they be after that?- but nobody comes into the front lounge. It’s against Zack’s rules.
“Zack, baby, it’s okay.” But it isn’t. In Zack’s eyes, this is a catastrophe. He’s making that high keening noise in the back of his throat that signals a full meltdown and he’s rocking back and forth at an inhuman speed. To anyone else, it would look like he’s crazy, that he’s got more than a few screws loose. But to me, he just looks like Zack. Beautiful, broken Zack.
At times like these, there’s not much anyone can do but wait it out and hope for the best. I pull him onto my lap and hug him so tightly that I’m afraid he’s going to burst. Matt just stares with wide eyes, Vinny and money and his laptop long forgotten as he watches Zack. It’s his fault, and he knows it and I know it and the rest of the band and crew probably knows it as they hold pillows over their ears and try and catch a few more moments of precious sleep.
It’s 8:57 when Zack finally stops crying. Matt gave himself the job of waking everyone up according to Zack’s schedule, so that at least the right people would be in the front lounge when he calms down. Only Danny, Jeff and Alex are still in their bunks. Lucky bastards.
“Jack, I need to go wake up Danny.” My heart almost breaks when I hear the way Zack’s voice is cracking. “It’s 8:57, that’s when he wakes up. I need to go now.” I nod and untangle myself from him, then watch him disappear behind the curtain that separates the front lounge from the bunk area. As soon as he’s gone, I pinning Matt against the wall as quietly as I can and snarling into his ear.
“Pull another stunt like that and you really will be fired. I don’t care if we need you. I don’t want you around if you’re going to do that to Zack. Do you understand me?” I’ve never spoken this way to anyone except for Ben Warsley, back when I was fourteen and he was making fun of Zack.
Matt nods. “Yes, Jack, of course. I’m so sorry, I was just so pissed off and-” I just shake my head and let him go when Zack comes back with Danny in tow. His face is puffy and there’s a stray tear still sliding down his cheek.
Fuck Matt for making him like this.
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Shit, I am so fucking awful at updating this and I apologize sincerely. Really, I am so sorry. Anyway, here you go! I hope you like it! Comment pleaaaaaaaase??? Thanks, and hope all you guys are having a great summer!