A Storm Named Zach

by Flip McHooter

Chapter 11

"Wow! This is spectacular," Zach said, once Hermie and the bellman left us alone in our outrageous suite. "I can't even believe we have two ginormous bathrooms. And look at the view! Holy, moly. I can't wait for the fountains to start doing their thing. And we have a living room and a dining room! How insane is that?"

"No kidding. But what a waste. We're never going to use them. But I'm excited to see the fountains too. You know what I like best? The flat-screens that pop up out of a cabinet when you turn them on. That's asshat crazy. Also, I can't wait to soak in that giant tub with you. That is going to be so sweet. We're gonna have so much fun in there. Maybe we can make bubbles. How cool would that be? We may never leave."

"Oh man. Super-yay to that idea. I totally agree with that. That's an excellent suggestion. But save it for later, hot pants. I have a better idea for now. You need to get naked. And get naked this second. We've got a little over four hours before dinner, and we need to make the most of it. So strip. Now."

"Hot pants? Listen to you, Mr. Bossy Boyfriend, getting all zesty on me."

"I mean it. You've just spent the last five hours driving us out here, and you've got to be bushed. I know I am, and all I had to do was sit there and fidget and talk and play music and look pretty. Which you know I'm fabulous at. All those things. So, I'm gonna give you the most stupendous massage ever. Brace yourself to be amazed."

"You are?"

"Yes. And I don't want any backtalk from you, Jeremy whatever your middle name is Farnsworth. I know how you like to be the boss of all things in the entire universe, but right now I'm King Zach the Overlord in charge of everything and anything to infinity and beyond, so get over it and get naked. Right. F'n. Now! Otherwise, I may have to spank you."

"Oh, buddy, I love this side of you. You so sexy. And it's Winchester."

"That's a great name! Also, super-sexy. Anyway, a massage comes with me being your boyfriend. Boyfriend. I love the sound of that."

"I do too. Okay, do you want me to do a striptease for you, Mr. Bad-ass Boyfriend?"

"No. Who the hell are you kidding? Don't be a dork. I doubt you can dance any better than I can. Go in the bedroom, take off all of your clothes, and plop yourself down on the bed on your stomach. I'll be there in a second."

"On it. And just for future reference, Mister Master Overlord, I can dance. Ask Fiona. She has video."

"That, I'd love to see."

"You never will. I promise you that right here and now. Talk about dorkville. But liquor me up, and I can dance like Bruno Mars."

"I don't care if you drink a whole bottle of tequila, that will never, ever happen. That I guarantee, Bruno. Seriously? Video or no video. Don't ever bullshit me like that."

"True. You got me. It's truly pathetic and completely embarrassing."

It was great to see Zach taking control, and in all honesty, it felt good to let someone take care of me for a change. Plus, how could I say no to that handsome young man that had instantly stolen my heart.

I was so relaxed I had almost fallen asleep on the fresh, crisp sheets when Zach settled in on my butt. I could tell he was naked too since his big, droopy balls were plopped on my crack. I could totally get used to this.

"Where did you get the lotion?" I asked into the pillow the same time I stuck my hand underneath my stomach to re-arrange my hardening boner.

"There's a treasure-trove of celebrity-named shampoos and lotions and creams and other ridiculously fragrant shit like that in the bathrooms. I was looking for one that smelled like ball sweat and five o'clock armpit, but unfortunately, no go. This one smells less flowery than the others. I don't want you smelling like stale vag. Oops. Can you still say that? That's just so, I don't know, icky."

"Oh my God. What's gotten into you? You're making me laugh, but awesome," I murmured into the pillow. "I really don't want to smell like a girl either."

I could hear Zach squirt some of the goop into his hand, and like a seasoned professional, he rubbed his hands together to warm it up. And it smelled amazing. But what was more amazing was when he leaned in and started rubbing it onto the top of my shoulders. It felt so great, and I instantly melted into the sheets.

"Ahh. That feels extraordinary. Thanks for doing this, buddy."

"No problem. You deserve some special attention. You've got huge shoulders. Is that from your swimming?"

"Yeah. I always loved swimming, and in my freshman year of high school, I joined the water polo and swim teams. But you know that. I even won some awards, not that it matters. And I worked out in our pool when I wasn't doing that at school. I still do that. I'm like a fish. I love to swim."

"Well, it worked. And thankfully, you don't smell like a trout. You're back is super-sexy. Well, everything about you is super-sexy."

"Buddy, you're on a roll right now. But thanks for that. You're gonna join me for my workouts from now on. You don't need to get ripped, because you're beautiful just as you are, but it makes you feel so energized, and you'll feel so good afterward."

"I always wished you were my big brother growing up," he said, as he slathered more lotion onto my lower back and had slid back, so he was sitting on the top of my legs. "I always wanted a brother or a sister. It was tough being the only one. I was so envious of the twins. Nobody took an interest in me, other than you when I was over here, or when this pervy soccer coach fondled my nuts when I was like nine or ten behind the bleachers. Holy moly. My mother caught us and wow, was that a shit-storm for him."

"Are you serious? Man, if I had known about that, I would have kicked his ass."

"Yeah. It only happened once. Truth?"

"Of course. Always. You never have to hide anything from me. Or be scared or embarrassed about anything. Ever."

"Well, I kinda liked it at the time, but wow, did he ever get in trouble. Now that I'm older, I get why that wasn't cool, and it creeps me out sometimes when I think about it. But at the time, the attention was nice. I'm glad it didn't go any farther. Further? I never know which is which. But that would have been a hot mess if he did more."

"No kidding. So, honest question here. Are you sure you're okay with us taking this farther? Further? With me? I mean, this has been fast, like really, really super-fast, and I don't want to make you uncomfortable if you're not ready for something you're not ready to do."

"Oh, I'm totally ready for something. I'm ready for everything, Mr. No Pants. All of it. Because it's you. I can't imagine doing this with anyone else but you. So yes, the answer is yes. It's always been yes. Now shut up and let me finish your massage."

"Okay. Go for it. And Zach?"

"Yeah?"

"I'm totally in love with you. Just so you know. I feel bad I didn't tell you first."

"Dumbass. I've known that forever. You're too easy to read."

"What the hell does that mean?"

He blew out a deep breath and stopped rubbing me, but kept his palms on my ass cheeks. "You and me? We're meant to be together. Just like you and Fiona are. I'm going to get all weird on you here, so shields up and brace for impact. I totally believe that some people are meant to be together. Some people call it Karma, Ying/Yang, reincarnation, or whatever. The Krill call it Avis. That kind of stuff. I don't call it anything, because I don't have the answers, whatever it is, and I'll probably never will. I just know it's real, and tangible. You and Fi. You're like a brother and sister from another lifetime. Or times. I bet you can read her mind. Or, more like her mood, and she obviously reads you like a trashy romance paperback. That was totally obvious the second I met her."

"Wow. How do you know all that? But yeah. She really can. And true. She loves those books."

"I don't know. I just do. And my parents? No. I was never supposed to be with them. I get that."

"Wow, again. You're blowing my mind here."

"That's why I don't miss Mother, or that shithead who spermed me. Okay, to be truthful, I'm glad he did sperm me. Otherwise, I wouldn't be here. But still. What a dick."

"Ouch. But I get that."

"And what about this Wolfie guy I keep hearing about? How does he fit into all of this? I want to meet him. He sounds amazing."

"He is the most amazing person I know, other than you. I have to say yes to your theory, as outrageous as it sounds. Fi, Wolfie and I are like this strange rag-tag group of people that have absolutely nothing in common, other than we love each other to death. We'd literally do anything for each other. No question. No drama, no worries, no regrets, no lies, no judgment. No anything. We're always there for each other. It's a given."

"And me?"

"Yes, to that too, absolutely positively. Without a doubt. All of that. You saw how Fi took charge, right? Wolfie's the same. Maybe there is something to all this. There was definitely a reason Trevor brought you to me. I would do anything for you. And so would they."

"And I would do it too, even though I don't know Wolfie. I really feel we're meant to be together. Did you ever feel that with Officer Trevor?"

"Honestly, no. And dude, you kneading my butt cheeks feels amazing."

"I know. They're so meaty."

"You're really boning me up, which is weird because we're in this deep conversation."

"Then I'll shut up. I've said my peace, pardner. Now get up on your knees. I need to take care of something. There seems to be a hole in your ass."

"Is that so?" I laughed. I loved him even more for taking control of me.

"Yes. And it looks like it needs investigating."

"You're too weird. But I love it."

"Good." Zach spread more of the lotion on his hands, and then…he made the most fantastic love to me. And it was glorious.


It was almost eleven when we started to wake up the next morning. As per usual, Zach was all over me, something I totally loved.

"Hey, buddy. We should get up. We have a cabana reservation at noon, and we need to start working on finding Eve."

"No. Not yet. I don't want to get up yet. I love snuggling here with you. No fair."

"Fair or not, I have to take a wicked piss, plus I'm starving. You want me to order room service, or do you want to head down to the buffet? Our room key gets us to the front of the line, and I hear it's pretty phenomenal."

"No. Order us something light. I'm still full from last night. Make sure they have coffee. That was a marathon of everything wonderful yesterday."

"No kidding. And it was totally astounding. Probably the best day I've ever had."

"I'll second that motion. The big lake with those fountains, the food, the half-naked guys in that show, and then what we did in bed afterward. Wow and wee."

We had the best night ever, dining on lobster ravioli next to the fountains. Unfortunately, Wolfgang wasn't there, but it didn't make any difference. It was a spectacular sight, and Zach was thoroughly captivated by everything, which made me happy. But it got even better. After dinner, I surprised him with tickets to the Cirque du Soleil show here in the hotel. He was in awe, and told me later that his dad had produced plenty of shows, but nothing could compare to what we had just seen.

And later, when we got back to our room late last night, I made love to the young man I totally adore. It. Was. Freaking. Breathtaking. For both of us.

"Okay, what do you want to eat? And how's your butt? That got kinda…"

"Intense? I loved every single second of it. And just an FYI, it still tingles. That reminds me of you. I'm glad it fit."

"Yeah. Me too."

"Blueberry pancakes, if they have them. And coffee. Lots and lots of coffee."

"On it."

We both took a quick shower after we ate, and got into our trunks to chill by the pool. Zach brought his laptop since his phone had died, and I had my tablet and phone at the ready. If Eve Whitrock was somewhere around here, we were going to find her. I was sure of that.

Off the elevator and down the hall past a half-dozen crazy-priced shops, we found the pool area quickly enough. Or, I should say, pools. As with everything in this hotel, the pools were way over the top. We asked for Steven, since why not? He came running over to us, shook our hands and wished us a happy honeymoon. Great. Again. Guess his aunt must have told him about us.

But then something weird happened. When Steven was walking us to our cabana by the largest pool, he stopped in his tracks and turned around. He looked at Zach and said, "You don't remember me, do you?"

"Um, no? Should I? I don't think I've met you before."

"Sure, you do. You're Isaac. You're one of the foster kids that live with Billy and Sally. I'd know you anywhere. I'm surprised you're here. And dude, I had no idea you were gay. Oh! Not that that's a problem with me. Just sayin'. And oh! I promise I won't tell anyone you're fifteen."

"Um, not to be rude, dude, but my name is Zach, not Isaac. I live in California. This is the first time I've been to Vegas. And oh! I'm eighteen, twenty-two if you think my I.D. is real. Just sayin'. You must be thinking about someone else, or you smoked something really good before you started your shift."

"Seriously? Then, dude, you have a total doppelganger. That's totally whack!"

"Why's that?" I asked.

"My best bud's parents have fostered a bunch of kids. This Isaac kid has been staying there for a couple of years. He's a cool dude. Now that I look at you – Zach, right? – I see you're a bit older than he is. But dude. You two look identical. I totally swear. Same hair, same glasses, same stature. Even your voice is kinda the same. Totally weird. After I show you guys how to get situated in your awesome cabana, I'm gonna go grab my phone and show you a picture of him I have from last Christmas. Prepare to be amazed."

After Steven left us to help other guests and place our order for Pepsi and hand-made gourmet pizza rolls, Zach looked at me and said, "Now that, was fucking weird."

"You're not wrong about that. But now that I think about it…"

"What?"

"No. Never mind. It's impossible."

"Spill it, boyfriend."

"Well, you're going to think this is way out there, but is it possible your dad has fathered other kids? You said he was a hose-monster, and plus, from what I've heard about him and all those women he harassed and basically raped, it kinda seems possible. What if he got someone else pregnant, and you never heard about it? Maybe the woman kept the baby, and never told anyone? Like if your real mom, Eve, kept you instead of giving you to your dad and mother?"

"You mean like, I could have a brother or sister out there? Or a bunch of them? I don't know how dad would have covered that up without Mother knowing about it. Until the end, everything financial went through her. I don't see how she wouldn't have known."

"But she had to know about you, right? And she never said anything."

"Yeah, I guess you're right about that."

"I'm just thinking out loud here. But you have to admit, it's kind of interesting."

"Maybe. But I'm not sure I like this idea. Like there's a hundred other Zach's and Zach-ette's running around out there? That's overwhelming."

"Well, let's wait and see what this kid looks like. He probably doesn't look anything like you. And like you said, Steven's probably stoned. It's legal out here now."

"Okay."

It took a while for Steven to get back to us since he was busy with other, more demanding guests. I had to give him credit, because he handled them with ease and a smile. I certainly couldn't do that kind of job. While we were waiting for him to show up, we spent our time doing our research. Unfortunately, neither Zach nor I had any luck locating Eve in any of the dance studios I called. Zach and I made a good detective team, though. He'd do the research, and I'd make the calls to ask around. Unfortunately, no one knew of anyone named Eve Whitrock.

Just when we were about to start in on the pole dancing studios, Steven showed up with his phone. "Sorry, dudes. We're slammed today and shorthanded. But here, look. That's Isaac."

"Holy moly! He does look like me."

"No shit," I said. "Steven? Do you know Isaac's last name?"

"Yeah, no, I don't think so. Want me to call my bud and ask him?"

"That would be great. Then we can put this to bed. It's starting to get a little too freaky."

"Okay. Cover me, fellas. We're not supposed to be on our phones out here."

This guy was certainly weird, but I was beginning to like him. Poor Zach, though. He had that deer in headlights look. This must be incredibly crazy for him.

"Thanks, dude. See you soon," Steven said, hanging up with his friend. Turning to us he said, "His last name's Wittinghill. Or Whitsett. I'm not sure. Something with a Whit. Rockingham, maybe? It's hard to get reception out here."

Zach looked stricken, and I instantly went into 'take control mode'. "Steven? Pay attention to me. What exactly did your friend say?"

"I told you. Something like Whit-something. Why? What's going on? Am I in trouble?"

"No. Not at all. It's just that we're out here to find Zach's mom. Her name is Eve Whitrock. Is there any chance this Isaac kid is her son too? Could his last name be Whitrock? Think it through before you say anything. This is seriously important."

"Well, you two look practically the same, and his last name is kinda like that. Geez, this is insane."

"Is there any way we can meet Isaac? Like now?"

"Sure. He's a cool kid. I'll have to call Sally and let her know you're on your way. They're all friendly. It shouldn't be a big deal. But that would be so cool if you turn out to be brothers. Damn! And score for me for connecting the dots."

"Okay. Call Sally and get her okay. Then get us the address and cash us out. You're getting a giant tip, dude."

"All right! Be right back."

"Jeremy?"

"What, buddy?"

"Can this really be happening? Do you think I have a little brother? If it's true, I'm about to start bawling here."

"Okay. Zach. Listen to me. Remember when I told you to be prepared for the worst if we did find your real mom, and she didn't want anything to do with you?"

"Yeah."

"Well, this might be a different version of the same thing. This kid might have been through a whole bunch of shit. He might not want some strange guy walking in and say 'hi, little brother'. Think of it from his perspective. Who knows what his life has been like? He's in foster care. No matter how cool the foster parents are, it still sucks. Big, big time. A big bureaucratic nightmare where the foster parents collect barely enough money for the kids."

"Yeah, you're right."

"So, I need you to chill here, okay? Can you do that? Let's just go meet him. That's all for now. If he turns out to be some random dude, we'll all have a good laugh and blame it on Steven. And if it turns out to be more than that, then somehow, we'll figure it out. But there's no sense freaking out about it, okay? Remember, you are fierce!"

"You're right. Okay. I can do this and keep it together. Jeremy, I love you so much. Thank you for keeping such good care of me."

"Back atcha, buddy. Always."

Steven was back and said, "I gave Sally a call, and she's expecting you guys. And guess what? His last name is Whitrock! Here's their address. They live over in Henderson. You know how to find that? It's kinda far off the strip."

"No problem. I'll put in my GPS. Anything else we should know? This has to be really weird for them too, you know. What are they like?"

"They're all good people and super friendly. She's excited for Isaac, but she said it would be better if she didn't say anything to him until you talk with her first. He's a good kid, and Sally and Billy do a great job looking after their foster kids. They take an interest in them, you know? I hope this works out for you guys. Tell Sally to call me and let me know how it goes."

"Thanks, Steven, for everything you've done. One last question. Do you get to keep your tips or do you have to pool them together and take a split?" I asked.

"Luckily, this property lets us keep them. I do give a cut to my assistant if I have one. But today, almost everyone called out."

"Great," I said signing the charge slip. "You did a standout thing today, and you deserve to be rewarded for it. Not many people would get involved and go out of your way like you just did. Both Zach and I can't tell you thanks enough, so maybe this will."

"Dude! No way. I can't take this. I've had a couple of big tips before, but never like this."

"Yes you can, and yes you're taking it. Use some of it on you, and use the other to pay it forward somehow. You're a good guy, and you deserve it."

"Well, thank you very much. Now I can get my car's transmission fixed. Zach? Good luck, man, okay? I hope this works out for you."

"Thanks, Steven. And thanks again for putting this together."

"Go you guys. Get out of here before I kiss you. That would be super awkward because I'm not gay. Say hi to Isaac for me."

"C'mon, Zach. Let's go upstairs and change."


Traffic on the way to Henderson wasn't all that bad, and we made the trip to the Whitney Ranch neighborhood easily enough. Zach was very quiet; I'm sure lost in his thoughts. I just squeezed his hand and drove.

It was a little tricky finding the correct house in the older subdivision since the streets all seemed to curve this way and that for no apparent reason. Plus, everything was shades of brown. Brown houses, brown tile roofs, brown landscape and a lot of brown cars. I would have sworn we drove past the same house with a tired looking motorhome in front five times or more.

But finally, we found it, and I parked in the front. It looked clean and tidy with a small patch of green grass that most of the other houses didn't have. The three-car garage took up most of the front.

"Zach, you ready for this? If you're not, we can do it a later time."

"No. I'm ready. I've been sitting here thinking what to say."

"Don't overthink it. Once you see him, you'll know what to say, I promise. Want me to take the lead on this?"

"Would you? I'm super nervous."

"Done. Let's go."

We walked up to the porch, and I rang the bell. We could tell kids lived here because there were a couple of smaller, beat-up bicycles and a red wagon with a headless doll next to the door. That for some reason made me smile.

A girl's voice yelled out, "I'll get it." She was a cute kid of maybe nine or ten.

"Hi. I'm Jeremy, and this is my friend Zach. We're here to speak with Sally. Is she here?"

The girl did a double take at Zach but smiled when she saw me holding his hand. "C'mon in. Mama Sally said you were on your way. She's in the dining room. Follow me."

"My word! Steven said you looked alike, but this is remarkable. I'm Sally, and this here cutie is Natalie. You must be Zach, and you must be Jeremy. It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance, boys."

"Yours too. Thank you for seeing us on such short notice."

"No trouble at all."

"May I ask where Isaac is?" Zach asked quietly.

"He's in his room on his computer, probably completely engaged in Fortnite or something. He'd be in there all day if I let him. My, you even sound similar and have the same mannerisms. So, let's talk a bit, and then I'll bring him on out to meet you boys, that sound good?"

"Yes," Zach said.

"I think that's a great idea. We need to tell you why we're here, and then talk about how Isaac might react if all of this is true," I said. "It wouldn't be fair to be blindsided with this if he isn't emotionally able to handle it."

"You're a smart boy for thinking that. Honey, would you go out the fridge in the garage and get these nice boys a cold soda?"

"Yes, Mama Sally. Can I have one too?"

"Is your side of the bedroom straightened up?"

"Yes, ma'am. Mostly. I'm still folding some clothes."

"Sure. Go ahead and get one for you too. I don't like to give the kids too much soda. It sugar's 'em up something fierce."

"I bet. So Zach and I are here because he recently lost his parents, and going through his house we found his birth certificate. It's a little strange because the name listed for his mother wasn't the one he grew up with. The father's name was correct, though."

"May I ask, what was her name?"

"The one on the certificate said Eve Whitrock, and that she delivered Zach in New York. Zach had never been told any of that."

"Here, look. I brought a copy." Zach pulled the folded photocopy out of his back pocket and handed it to her.

"Oh, my. It sure does say that."

"So we did some digging and found out that this Eve Whitrock brought Zach out to California when he was two weeks old. We talked to Zach's housekeeper and she filled is in on a couple of other things."

"Like how after she dropped me off, she went to live here in Vegas. My housekeeper also told us she remembers Eve being a Broadway singer and dancer."

"That's because she was." That came from the other side of the room. Standing there was a junior version of Zach. No doubt about it. Same hair, same glasses, same skin tone. "And she was good at it too."

"Oh, God," Zach whispered.

"Are you Zachary Dumont, for reals? This isn't some trick?"

"Yes! I am. And no, it's not a trick. How do you know my full name?"

"M-mommy told me about you just before she d-d-died. I have a letter she left me. She told me, she told me I had a big brother and that when he was old enough, oh gosh, he'd come find me. And if he didn't, I'd have to find him when I was eighteen. And you did! You did it! Mommy never lied."

Zach got up and raced over to the kid, grabbing him up in a tight hug. "No one ever told me I had a little brother. I always dreamed of having one, and now I do," he sniffed. "His name is Isaac! This is so cool."

That's when the waterworks started. For everybody. It was freaking awesome.

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