Status: Completed

Growing Pains

Hello Pretty

Zack tightened his grip on Aubrey's hand, making sure she wasn't in anyway able to slip on the icy pavement or anything of the sort. She sighed loudly, slightly annoyed that he insisted on treating her as if she was physically challenged. Better off being so, Aubrey gave into Zack and let him escort her into the house.

"I'm sorry," Zack gushed, loosening his hold on Aubrey's hand. "I didn't realize I was hurting you."

Aubrey didn't quite seem to comprehend what Zack had said to her, shown by the blank stare occupied on her face. Zack stared back at his wife, equally as confused as what she seemed to be.

"You weren't hurting me, Zack," she told him. "I'm just not used to being fussed over."

Zack couldn't bare hearing about anything that had relevance to Aubrey being alone all these months. Despite having her friends and her family, their love couldn't amount to the love Zack had for her. "I love you," Zack admitted, "so much."

"I love you, too," she replied quietly. Zack furrowed his eyebrows in concern. "What?" Aubrey asked him. Zack shook his head, emptying the questions and worries from his mind. Aubrey laughed, rubbing her husbands arm, trying her best to comfort him. "You have nothing to worry about," she told him. "Everyone is so excited to see you."

Zack took Aubrey's reassurance as a positive, allowing his nerves to slowly give way. He smiled, letting out a shaky sigh before he gently allowed his arm to snake around Aubrey's still tiny waist. Aubrey smiled at the warmness he bought to her; she felt at home again.

Knocking was no longer necessary, and had never been so. Zack opened the door and placed his hand on the small of Aubrey's back, ready to give her the little push she needed to get through the door.

All nerves managed to creep their way back into the back of Zack's mind. He watched as Aubrey walked into Brian's house and maneuver her way around the furniture; he followed cautiously. The last thing he wanted was to relive the past or for anyone to bring up what had happened. He knew Aubrey wasn't in anyway ready to hear the full story, and would highly likely never be ready.

Everyone wasn't best described as calm. Knowing Zack was coming home was something they had marked on the calendar and counted down what was said to be every second. But when Zack walked into the kitchen, now only feet behind his wife, everyone seemed to abandon all collectiveness and spill into excitement.

First to welcome home Zack was obviously the girl who came running passed the group of people and wrapped her arms around Zack's neck. "You won't believe how badly we all missed you," Leana said on behalf of everyone. "It's so good to have you back!"

After trading a hug for a kiss, Zack secondly locked eyes with one of his four best friends. Brian was the first to stretch his arms out and pulled Zack into a more loving hug.

"I missed you man," he said. Zack exchanged the long needed hug and smirked at his best friend. Never thinking it was quite possible to miss his band members as much as he did, Zack greeted his other two best friends with the same amount as happiness he had with Brian.

Johnny wasn't all that well rounded when he came into the room. Giving Zack a sloppy hug, he took a swig of the beer bottle hanging between his fingers. Zack playfully punched him, hoping to bring some life into the drunken body. Johnny's eye lingered on the spot where Zack punched him, it seemed it done all but bring life into him.

Despite the people in the room being closer than family with one another, it all did seem rather awkward. Matt smiled, clasping his hands together and looking around the room.


"Well," a female voice concluded. "How was the jailhouse, stud?" Matt's dimples began to fade with his slowly forming frown. There was a very vital piece of information he, or anyone, had deprived both Aubrey and Zack of. Zack looked up at the girl who had slid herself onto the counter. Whether or not he should be happy with her appearance wasn't his call.

"Hey Gena." Aubrey smiled.

Gena raised her eyebrows and smirked at Zack. Matt, who looked rather pissed off, took Aubrey's hand and lead her into the dinning room where, Leana and Val were arranging the finest silver.

"I don't know why-"

"-Gena is here," Matt told Aubrey. Although she had already figured that one out for herself and was slightly uneasy about the situation, Matt's comment did all but make Aubrey feel uneasy. Releasing a feminine laugh, Aubrey hit Matt's arm playfully. "Leana, insisted on inviting her."

"I'm so sorry," Leana mumbled, "I really wasn't thinking, Brie."

"It's fine, love," she said softly. "Gena is your friend, it's completely understandable."

"This is Zacky's homecoming, not Gena's," Val muttered into a silver spoon. Leana somewhat felt responsible for possibly the biggest mistake of the night. She sent a glance Matt's way, almost apologizing for the mess she had created.

Aubrey's personality consisted of many different traits. But the one that everyone knew her for was how kind and caring she could be. Although Gena's appearance was a little overwhelming, Aubrey wasn't going to take much notice of how much it bothered everyone; preferably Val and Matt.

However, noticing the hand grazing the lower region of Gena's back as he came into the dinning room, Aubrey was second guessing Zack's intentions. He smiled warmly as he pulled the chair out in front of Aubrey and ushered her into it. Everyone was now sitting in the dinning room, quiet as possible.

"Dinner is almost ready," Matt mentioned, reducing the tension in the air. "Val just has to carve the meat," he playfully joked. All members of the room let out a desperately needed laugh that would create a much lighter mood.

"So, Zacky," Gena began, "I bet you missed me while you were locked up," she suggested.