A Storm Named Zach

by Flip McHooter

Chapter 7

Zach and I finished cleaning ourselves up, and after brushing our teeth, we headed to bed hand in hand. Both of us were beyond exhausted from everything going on the last couple of days.

"Jeremy, can we sleep, you know, like this? Naked? I've never done that because Mother would come barging into my room all the time without knocking. I never had any privacy. I mean, I couldn't even have my door closed."

"Sure. I think that sounds great. Just know that I'm planning on wrapping you tight in my arms all night long, and that might mean more boner action. I'm not talking sex here, it's just that guys our age get boners when we sleep. Last night you kinda freaked about that."

"I was just scared. No, not scared. I know you would never hurt me. I guess, well, I guess I really don't know what I'm saying. This is all so new to me. I mean, I love it, but my world's been turned totally upside down, and it's kinda hard to get it together. Don't get me wrong, I love this. I'm just trying hard to catch up here. I've gone from Shitsville to Awesomeville in like sixty seconds."

"I understand. Too much, too fast. That's cool, buddy. There's no rush on any of this. We have all the time in the world for whatever happens. For right now, all I want is to cuddle with you and maybe do some more kissing. That's it. But I'm not sure I have the energy for kissing right now, to tell you the truth. I really need my zzz's."

"Me, too. I know I've told you thanks for everything you've done for me, but I really, sincerely can't thank you enough. Not only do you make me feel good, you make me feel safe. And strong. I never would have challenged that reporter unless I met you and Fiona. Is that weird?"

"Why would that be weird? I think what you did was epic and inside you all along. You just didn't know it was there. I'll make you a promise. Every single day we're together, I'll try my best to never hurt you, or make you do something you don't want to do, or aren't ready to do. I've been there before, and some of it was a challenge. But I'm not complaining. You have to go through the bad, so you know what is actually good. Sounds weird, but I'm a better man because of it. All I want for you is to be happy and be the best man you can be. There was a reason Trevor brought you here. I know it. You and I, I think we're both the same in a lot of ways."

"I think you're right. He could have just moved me on down the road to the next city. But he didn't. Besides, he must have some good qualities. Otherwise, you wouldn't have been with him, right?"

"Correct. You're right about that. Thing is, his problem is he thinks with his dick first, his wallet second, his mind third, and his heart fourth, if he even has one. That's not the way it should be. He's got his order all wrong. Took me a while to figure that out."

"Wow. That's kinda brutal, but makes a lot of sense."

"He has a lot of great qualities, don't get me wrong. But he has a lot to learn, just like we all do. I'm not sure how he's going to make it being a cop, but I wish him well. Question. Did your family ever go to church?"

"No. You?"

"No, not that I can remember. But my parents were the most wonderful, loving people ever. They made us say what we were thankful for every night at dinner, but it wasn't all churchy, or preachy. They were just interested in our lives. After they were killed, I had a hard time doing that, saying what I was thankful for. I was so pissed my parents got taken away from me. But then, in sixth grade, Fi and I met Wolfie. He is this huge, intimidating guy, even back then. He wasn't liked by anybody in school because he seemed mean, ready to mow down anyone who got in his way. He was an outcast there at the beginning, being a Native American in a basically Caucasian and Asian school. Thing is, that's just how he looks. But there's not a mean bone in his body. He's the most honest, humble and spiritual man you'll ever meet, and would do anything for a friend. Snuggle up here, buddy, and can you turn the light off for me?"

"Oh, gosh. This feels so great, being here in your arms, naked. I'm not going to be afraid anymore. You make me feel so safe."

"Awesome. That's all I want for you. To feel safe."

"So, you were talking about your friend Wolfie. Does he look like a wolf? Is he a giant?"

"No, not like a wolf. But he's the biggest guy I know. He's very handsome, but a man of few words. He has the best long hair ever. I had a huge crush on him at first. Funny thing. He knew it, but he's not gay. It didn't bother him at all. He kinda looks like that guy in that Twilight movie. But not so goofy. Only bigger and not so pretty like a girl, I guess. If that makes sense."

"I was team Jacob, too. But I never told anyone before. Edward seemed like a big weenie to me. But it was totally cool when he'd sparkle. I loved that."

"Then you'll like Wolfie. Be warned though, he doesn't sparkle. Anyway, Fi had an immediate connection to him too, and the three of us became fast friends. I guess you could say we were like a mini rat-pack. We helped him get accustomed to living in So Cal, and after a while, he shared some of his Navajo wisdom and traditions. One of those things was asking what we were grateful for. We did that every day before we ate lunch. The other kids thought we were nuts, so we moved out to the quad at lunchtime. We'd grab our pizza or veggie burritos or whatever and head outside. Then we'd get in these heavy discussions.

"Lunch for the three of us always started with him asking what we were grateful for that day. He seemed shy at first, but the thing is, he wasn't shy at all. That was just his way. Quiet. I think he was just figuring out who we were, feeling us out, I guess, to make sure we were sincere. At first, it was hard for both Fi and me, but then, we got it. I know he wasn't happy living here, but he made the best of it, looking at all the good stuff and shutting out all the drama and negative bullshit. He had it way harder than we did, and after a couple of weeks, we understood him. It finally sunk in."

"What did you get?"

"Oh, lots of things. His patience. His wisdom. His love of the land. His love for being alive. His love for his people and love for the spirits in his culture. And most of all, his unconditional love for both of us. He's the most amazing person I know. I wish he were here. He'd love you, and I know, you'd love him too."

"I can't wait to meet him. Where is he?"

"Canada. Every summer, he takes at-risk native kids on a vision quest or something in British Columbia. They set the kids loose on an uninhabited island to learn how to live off the land, how to become one with nature, rely on one another, things like that so they can fend for themselves. Things people nowadays don't respect or understand. They come away with a completely different understanding of what life is actually about. It's something that we're really missing in our society today, with all this negative news, political fighting, corporate greed, meth, 'I'm better than you are' Twitter bullshit. What's missing is love. Maturity and meeting people half-way. Respect. Well, that's my take on it, anyway. I'll shut up now."

"He sounds great. I don't know anyone like that. Except you, maybe."

"Buddy, I'm nothing like him," I yawned. "Not even close."

"Well, I'd like to be that enlightened. Thing is, I have no clue what I want to be, or who I am for that matter."

"I see you being this amazing chef. Maybe have a show on Food TV. And you know what? You're amazing just as you are, buddy, even if you end up working at McDonald's. Get some sleep now."

"Can I kiss you goodnight, first?"

"Make it so, ensign. Engage!" He didn't waste any time and latched onto me like a sucker fish. It was mind-numbing, and I loved every second of it.


Waking up with Zack wrapped up in my arms was like winning the Mega Millions. This time he was practically on top of me, his head on my chest and an arm was thrown around my stomach. I could feel his hard manhood poking me in the thigh. I could totally get used to this.

I guess he sensed I was awake because he stirred and mumbled, "Don't go."

"I have to. Indy has to pee. I'll be right back."

"Promise?"

"Absolutely."

It wasn't just Indy that had to pee. After I used the restroom, I followed Indy outside mostly to check for any reporters hiding out in the bushes. I'm glad they weren't since I forgot I wasn't wearing any clothes. I didn't need to see naked pics of me all over social media. Still, it felt nice in the warm morning sunshine standing there in all my glory.

Slipping back into the warm bed, Zach rolled over on top of me, opened an eye as he started to give me a peck on the lips. "Not fair! You brushed your teeth."

"Sorry, buddy. Just habit, I guess. Umm, you feel so good. How'd you sleep?"

"Like an Alaskan bear hibernating in a dark cave curled up with his new bear buddy."

"That sounds fantastic. But I'm hardly a bear. I'm muscular but not chunky, and not very hairy."

"True, but it's still an awesome thing cuddling with you. I usually have trouble sleeping, especially lately, but here with you I'm happy."

"Good to hear."

"I had a crazy dream. Wanna hear it?"

"Sure. Let er rip, tater chip."

"Oh, my gosh. You always this weird in the morning?"

"I am, buddy, when I wake up next to you."

"Aww, you get another kiss for another lame-ass saying." After he kissed me again, and again and again, he launched into his dream. He was so excited. "I was in this elevator, all by myself, when it stopped on the basement level of some fancy hotel. Just as the doors opened, the power went off, and the emergency lights came on. Wolfgang Puck got on, and after he said 'ello' in his funny accent, he asked me what I was doing backstage because I didn't have a pass around my neck. I guess we were at the Oscar's. How weird is that?"

"Doesn't sound too weird, yet. I seem to remember he does the food for that event. I think he makes special chocolate Oscar desserts with powdered gold. How great would that be?"

"I know! I saw that too. He told me that he had just lost two of his top chefs and that he didn't know what he was going to do. He didn't think he could pull it off now and looked so nervous. So I offered to help him out. And you know what he said?"

"He said thanks, but no thanks."

"No, silly. I helped him out, and we made all this crazy-ass yummy food the celebrities devoured. They were like piranhas. It was so great. Jeremy, what do you think that means?"

"I have an idea, but I want to hear what you think it means first."

"I think it's a message that I need to see how I can go to culinary school. That's problematic because I don't have my college fund anymore. I have no idea how to pay for something like that."

"Okay, let's think this through," I said, sitting up and leaning against the headboard. "I'd bet there's a lot of talented chefs that never went to chef school. They just trained hard and maybe worked they're way up from the bottom. Like starting as a waiter or a busboy and moving on up, from the front of the house to the back of the house. I think that's what they call it. Or maybe you can start small, like with a gourmet food truck or something. We have all kinds of interesting food trucks parked out front when we have a big event at the Arena. Some are really tasty."

"That's a great idea! I'd love to do that."

"I also think that maybe the elevator in the basement means that from now on, you can only go up. Does that make sense? I have a book of dreams somewhere around here. We'll check it out if you want."

"Oh, yeah. Let's do that." Just then, my stomach growled, making both of us laugh. "Can I make breakfast for you? I have something special I want to try."

"That sounds like a great idea. But first, do you mind if I call Fi and see if she can join us? You and I need to talk about something serious, and I'd like her to be here for it too."

"Oh, no. Did I do something wrong?"

"No, buddy, not at all. You've done everything right. This has to do with your family. I want to tell you and Fi at the same time because I have a feeling it's going to be complicated, and we might need to get her dad involved again."

"Lawyers. Shit. I hate this. I just want it all to go away so I can live my life. Seems like I'm still in the basement in my dream."

"Maybe, but the power's back on in your elevator and the doors are about to close to get you moving up again. C'mere," I said, pulling him on top of me and wrapping my arms around him. "Life isn't always easy. You know that. But if we tackle this head on, together, it might not be such a big deal. Or at least, make it easier to bear. Besides, both Fi and I will be there for every step with you. We've totally got your back."

"Promise?"

"I positively promise. You have my word. Want to pinky swear?"

"No, you goof. Then I'm not going to worry about it until you guys tell me, whatever it is."

"Great. We also need to talk to your housekeeper before she finds another job."

"Yes!" He jumped up out of bed and pumped his fist. "Yes. Yes, yes, yes, yes!"

"Okay, settle down, young warrior, settle down. Way too early for that much excitement. Let's get dressed, and get this day going. As much as I'd like to stay naked all day with you, we've got things to do. Zach, please don't worry. Only good things are coming your way now."

"Thanks, Jeremy. You're the best for helping her."

"Get going, buddy. I'm going to call Fi, and then clean up the kitchen from last night. You want me to make some coffee, or do you want to do that?"

"That sounds great. Go for it. I hope you have all the ingredients I need to make what I want to make. I know you and Fi are gonna love it."

"If we don't have what you need, great chefs improvise. You'll figure it out, I'm sure."

A half hour later, Fi showed up wearing her yoga gear, her jumbo-sized dark glasses with fake diamonds and a shoulder bag that could carry a golf cart. Her phone was in one hand, and a huge Starbuck's cup was in the other. Basically, her everyday wear. "Something smells scathingly brilliant in here. Puppy." She gave him a quick peck on the top of his head, and this time he didn't wince. I was happy she took such a quick liking to the kid. "Watch ya making?"

"It's a surprise, but I'm almost done. Go sit with Jeremy, and when I'm finished, I'll call you guys. Won't take more than a few minutes."

Fi unloaded on the table and then plopped down on the couch next to me. I looked at Indy, and she seemed torn between running up to Fi for a scratch behind her ears and a loving lick on Fi's hand, or staying put in the kitchen watching the kid intently in case he dropped something on the floor like the twins usually do. Ultimately, the kitchen won out.

"Your boy looks a lot happier today, Jerry. Whatever you guys are doing, keep it up. You look pretty happy too, now that I get a good look at you. Wait! Did you boys do the big nasty last night?"

"No. We did a little itty-bitty one, though. We both know we need to take it slow. But we've been talking a lot, and getting to know each other again. I know it's insanely fast, but I really like him. He's easy to talk to, just like when we were younger when we'd sit on the curb waiting for his mom to pick him up."

"That's terrific! I agree that going slow is a good idea. If something were to happen, it would be devastating for the kid. He seems so fragile right now."

"He is, and yet, he isn't. But I'm worried about this document I found in his dad's drawer yesterday. It was taped to the inside of the desk, so it was hard to find. That's why I wanted you here when I tell him about it. I have no idea how he's going to react."

"Shit. Is it that bad?"

"That's the thing. I really don't know. Either way, he's going to be shocked."

"Breakfast's ready!" Zach yelled, cutting off our conversation.

Fi and I sat down on the barstools, and then Zach set a mile-high pile of food in front of us. "This looks freaking amazing, Puppy. Oh my gosh. I just want to lean in with my hands behind my back and gobble it down like I'm at a pie eating contest at the Kentucky state fair. She-yute. I'm a gonna start talkin' all country-like now."

"Zach, she would seriously do that, and then before you know it, we'll all be talkin' that a-way too, ding dang it. Tell us what you made, buddy. I can't wait to try it."

Zach was grinning ear-to-ear, and said, "I made for you Strawberry and Blueberry-Cream Cheese Stuffed Cinnamon French Toast. I also made two kinds of fresh syrup. Strawberry and blueberry. I can get the regular maple if you want that instead. Oh, and I used the brioche bread and added some lemon zest, and just a tiny bit of nutmeg. I hope you like it. By the way, your freezer is amazing. It's like a treasure trove in there."

"This looks out of this world, buddy. Totally Oscar worthy. Grab your plate and join us, and hurry your cute little ass up!"

Like yesterday, he squeezed in between Fi and me, which made me laugh.

"Puppy, has Jerry told you about our friend Wolfie yet?"

"Yeah. He sounds super-cool. I can't wait to meet him."

"Did he tell you what we do around here before we dig in?"

"Yeah. We have to share something that we're grateful for."

"That's right. And I'll tell you right here and now that I'm grateful for this bitchin' looking breakfast. And I'm grateful that you made it for us."

"Thanks, Fiona. You're the best."

"This sounds weird," I said, "but I'm grateful for Trevor for bringing you here, buddy. I need to give Trevor some slack. He's not all bad. But more importantly, I'm so happy you're here with us, Zach, sharing your remarkable talents and your awesome personality with us."

"You two are going to make me cry. Well, I'm grateful for so many things you both have done for me. But right this second, I'm totally grateful for giving me free reign in this bitchin' kitchen. Can we please eat now? I'm starving."

"Go for it!"

After breakfast, which was incredibly amazing, I told Zach to call his housekeeper and see if she could come by sometime today. He was so happy to see her again he was practically bouncing off the walls. While he was doing that, Fi and I quickly cleaned up the kitchen – actually I did it while she supervised – then we sat down in the great room to talk with Zach.

"Bella said she'd be here in about an hour. I hope that's okay. She was so happy to hear from me and know that I was okay."

"That's great. So, before Isabella gets here, do you have any idea what your parents were paying her?"

"No clue."

"How about benefits, like time off or health insurance? What about a car allowance?"

"Nope. No idea."

"Okay, we'll figure it out when she gets here. I want to make sure her compensation is fair, just like I do for my staff at work. So, Zach. Yesterday when I was going through your dad's desk, I pulled out all the drawers to look around to see if anything might have slipped out and got stuck inside. There was only one thing I found. It seemed weird to me because it was taped to the side of the cabinet wall on purpose."

"What was it? And why would dad do that?"

"Not sure. I guess the best way to do this is to let you read it. Here."

"Hey! You found my birth certificate. That's great. Why's it a big deal?"

"Go through and read the whole thing. Start at the top."

"Okay. That's my name, and my birthday, June 3, 2000. Wait. I wasn't born in New York. I was born in Pasadena. And what's this? It says my mother is someone called Eve Whitrock. Who's that? They must have made a mistake in the birth certificate department. This can't be right."

"Look at her age."

"It says she was twenty-three when she had me. My dad was fifty-two when I was born. Do you think he was…I can't even say it…bad to one of his actresses? Do you guys think he did something really terrible to her?"

"Abusing her, or maybe raped her? I hope not. Don't get ahead of yourself here. I'm going to ask you a question, and it's going to be uncomfortable. Can you think it through for a moment before you answer?"

"Yeah, I guess. What's wrong, Jeremy?"

"Do you think there's any way that your mom isn't actually your biological mom?"

"Huh? What do you mean?"

"Like if your parents had that Eve lady as a surrogate or something," Fi said. "Maybe your mother was too old to have children, and so they got a younger model to carry you. They probably paid her to do it. A friend's sister did that for a couple who didn't want to wait forever to adopt. She made a mint doing that."

"Wow. I suppose that might have happened. That sounds a whole lot better than my conclusions. I mean, my mom was fifty when I was born. But if that did happen, why wouldn't they tell me? If it's true, wouldn't it have come out by now? And why did they lie and cover it up? This really sucks."

"Yeah, I agree. You've never seen your birth certificate before?"

"No, never. I know they had it because they needed it when they enrolled me in school, and soccer and when I got my passport when I was younger. But I never saw it. Oh, man. I never even thought about it. This is just too weird. Jeremy, how can we find out the truth? What if my mother isn't really my mother? And now that she's dead, does that make this Eve woman my mother? Am I related to her somehow? This is just…too weird. I'm starting to freak out here."

"That's why Fi's here. Would you like her to ask her dad some questions for you? He would probably be the most knowledgeable person on stuff like this. Plus, I trust him to keep this completely confidential."

"Yeah, I guess…but I'm just so confused."

"I have a thought," Fi said. "Your housekeeper? How long has she been with your family? Is it possible that she might know something?"

"She might! All I know is she's always been there. I mean, I don't remember her when I was a baby, but I remember her from like when I was five or so. Let's ask her first before we ask Fi's dad. Would that be okay?"

"Sounds like a good plan to me. Having help for that long of a time means she probably knows a lot of things and secrets about your parents, don't you suppose?" I asked.

"Dirty little secrets, right?" That was from Fi.

"Yeah, I know she knows stuff. Shoot. She could probably write a book with the stuff she's overheard over the years, especially the mega-fights my parents had. The last couple of years she would tell me things about what an idiot my dad is. And there at the end, she really complained about my mother."

"Why did she stay?" Fi asked. "I mean, if it was that bad, she could have gotten a job someplace else."

"She stayed for me. Bella was the one that practically raised me. She fed me, helped me with my homework, taught me how to cook, that kind of stuff."

"How long until she gets here?"

"She said an hour or so. That was a while ago. Geez, I hope you guys like her."

"We will buddy, I'm sure of it."

"You will. Both of you are gonna love her. And her enchiladas. They're the bomb."

Just then the doorbell rang, and unfortunately, our life was turned upside down once again.


"There she is! Yay! Bella's here. I'll get it." Zach jumped up and jammed to the front door, Indy hot on his tracks, barking happily. A second later I heard a bunch of screaming and shouting and yelling and Indy growling and barking like we were seconds away from a 7.5 magnitude earthquake.

"Fi, c'mon. There's a shit-storm brewing. Must be the reporters again. They must have found us somehow. I need you to film this in case it gets ugly."

"Already on it. Move it, Jerry! Go save your boy."

We raced through the house towards the foyer to find Zach with his back pushed against the door, crouched down using his legs as supports trying his best to shut it and keep them out. Unfortunately, he wasn't having much luck. Several arms with microphones were pushing in the side of the doorjamb trying to stop it from being closed. Indy was alternately barking and trying to snatch a microphone. The reporters must have been wearing armor, because that had to seriously hurt.

"Shit!" I yelled, getting next to him and shoving all my weight against the door. I heard some loud moans, but that didn't seem to deter them. "Zach, get back. This isn't going to work. Let me take care of this. Grab Indy's collar and both of you lock yourself in my bathroom. Then call 911 and tell the dispatcher people are breaking in. You know our address, right?"

"Yeah."

"I'll count to three, then get up and go. Three, move it!" He rushed down the hall dragging Indy. The dog wasn't thrilled about that but complied anyway. Once he and Indy were out of sight around the corner, I stood up and opened the door as wide and as fast as I could. I guess they weren't expecting that, and three or four reporters did an unexpected faceplant on our foyer, tumbling all over each other. Under normal circumstances, it would have been hilarious.

"Fi, you getting this?"

"Oh, hell yeah I am. I recognize some of them, too. The one on the bottom is that bitch from yesterday in the pool. Don't they ever get it?"

"Shit. That figures. Is her hair back on?"

"Can't tell. Too many people on top of her. How in the hell did they find us?"

"I have no idea."

I stepped on a few hands and fingers to kick away all the microphones I could see, sending at them down the foyer. Then I yelled," What in the ever-loving God are you doing? What in the fuck is wrong with you people? Why are you in my house?"

I counted six reporters, and standing on the porch with cameras were at least six more camera people, including Luis from yesterday. There was a good mix of male and female reporters, and camera folks as well. They all looked like they had rabies and had just wiped the foam off their drippy mouths, but didn't do a very good job of it because they were so wound up, they were about to froth up again.

The reporters quickly got up, some rubbing their red arms, instantly laser-focused, getting back on point and ready for another round of attack. "Where's Zach Dumont? Where is he? We need to talk to him about his father. Right now," a dark-haired reporter from Telemundo demanded in a heavy accent.

I surprised them up by screaming at the top of my lungs, "SHUT THE FUCK UP! EVERYONE! Get the hell out of my house. I'll talk to you out on the driveway, but only if you're civil and act like adults." They weren't expecting that but slowly backed out the foyer and onto the driveway. That allowed both Fi and myself to get outside and shut the door tightly behind us.

When they regrouped, I shouted, "One. Only one of you can talk and tell me why you're here. You. The dude from Fox11. I've seen you before. You have fifteen seconds, mister. Go!"

The reporters swarmed all around me, and the ones without mics had their notepads out and smartphones recording. It was totally unnerving.

"I apologize for this intrusion, sir. My colleagues are a bit rambunctious. We have word that Ziggy Dumont has been detained in Malta when his yacht started taking on water and had to quickly make port for repairs. All we want is to get his son's take on this latest development."

"Mr. Dumont made it perfectly clear yesterday to that raggedy old hag right there that he doesn't care about his father. As far as he's concerned, Ziggy Dumont is dead. His dad's a douche, and everyone knows it. Now leave us alone. He's never going to talk you people. He has no comment. The cops are on their way and are going to charge you with trespassing if you don't get lost. This is private property. And believe me, we have enough lawyers to sue you assholes for breaking and entering. Do not ever show up here without an invitation. Do you get me?"

They didn't, because they kept shouting questions over each other. It would have been comical, except I was on the other end of their rampage. Luck was on my side when a platoon of squad cars pulled into our driveway, flashing lights and sirens screeching. Unfortunately, the first one out was Trevor. Could this be a bigger fustercluck? Shit. Guess they make the rookies go first.

"Jer, what's going on?" were the first words out of his mouth.

"These lovely folks were trying to break in to get an interview with the kid you dropped off the other night. They were literally breaking down our door when he opened it. He was expecting someone else. Fi's got it all on video."

"Aw, crap. We'll take care of it and get them off your property. But this is still going to be a problem. The little experience I've had with media is that they are completely ruthless. They're not supposed to be on your property, but they can be on the street."

"Thanks, Trevor. I guess I'll have to get a security service to handle this. This is just too much, and I don't see it ending anytime soon."

"Does this have anything to do with the fiasco at the Dumont estate yesterday? Some reporter claimed she got pushed in the pool."

"Unfortunately, yes. But I think she actually lost her balance or tripped or something."

"Okay, I get it. Because it's you, I'll try and be discreet."

"Thanks for that. I appreciate it."

"I owe you a big thank you for tipping us off with all those firearms. That could have been a big mess."

"I know. Zach says they're his dads, but he doesn't think they're registered and has no idea where he got them."

"Good to know. I'll probably have to take his statement about them sometime soon. I'll run it past the Captain. But that's bonus points for me."

"No problem. Anything to help."

Fi and I watched as the cops pushed the reporters down our driveway to the street. Our house was set a good distance back, but they were still too close for comfort. We were just about to go back inside when I saw Trevor escorting an older lady and a tall, handsome guy. I figured that had to be Isabella.

"What is going on? Where is Zach? Is he okay?" she asked.

"I take it you're Isabella?"

"Yes. And this is my grandson Nacho."

"Nice to meet both of you. I'm Jeremy, and this is my good friend Fiona. Let's get inside so we can talk. I sent Zach to hide in the bathroom. I didn't want him involved in this again."

"That poor boy. Is he all right? I worry so for him."

"He's good. C'mon, let's go. He can't wait to see you."

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