|Shots in the Shadows
Author: sharpiewritesforfun PM
Tales of a Ghost Adventures crew photographer. Zak/OCRated: Fiction M - English - Adventure/Romance - Chapters: 35 - Words: 134,296 - Reviews: 46 - Favs: 68 - Follows: 26 - Updated: 01-12-13 - Published: 10-09-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8596667
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
I checked out fine with the doctor the next morning. Zak and I met back with Nick and Aaron at the hotel and had lunch before we left for the Dallas airport. I was really sore and extremely weak, but after lunch, I felt a little better. Zak said we were going back to Vegas. I was to stay with him and recuperate, which was more than fine with me.
We had three more locations left, but we called it off. Zak was going to contact the owners and managers of the locations to apologize and see if there was a way to reschedule for next year. Nick called up the network and told them that we were going to postpone filming. They were upset with us, but he made sure to tell them of the problems we kept running into. They let us off then. Nick and Aaron promised to come in and do some publicity to keep the fans happy. It was only fair, after all. Zak told them he was going on hiatus. He wanted nothing to do with the show and everything to do with spending time with me. I couldn't argue with that!
"I think I'm bad luck," I told him on the plane ride back to Vegas.
Zak looked at me worriedly.
"Why would you think that, Michael?" he asked.
"Because, every time I go on a lockdown, something bad happens," I said lightheartedly.
"I'm nothing but a problem," I went on.
Zak perched his chin on my shoulder.
"Michael, remember what I told you the first time we spoke on the phone?" he asked.
I thought back to that first conversation when Aaron called me. I couldn't remember anything except the nervousness.
Zak playfully scoffed.
"You don't remember? I told you that you were our problem," he said.
"Oh yeah! Ha! Maybe not everyone's, but definitely your problem that you have to deal with," I said.
Zak smirked and wrapped his arms around me.
"Mhmm. I know," he said huskily, "You little shit!"
When we got back to Zak's after picking Gracie up from his mom's house, Zak started acting weird. I had plopped down in a stool at the bar while Zak slowly walked through the dining room and neared the hall. He had his head tilted, listening for something. It immediately worried me.
"Zak, what's wrong?" I asked.
Zak looked back at me, looking slightly confused. Gracie, happy to be home and probably ready for her dinner, paid no mind to Zak's strange behavior as she grabbed one of her toys and walked out of the kitchen.
"I noticed something weird the last time you stayed over. When you were gone, what I considered normal came back, but now it's gone again," he said, not making any sense to me.
"What are you talking about?" I asked.
Gracie nudged my sore leg with her nose, making me wince.
"Gracie, stop," I said softly to her.
"The ghosts. You did know I had stuff in here, right?"
I nodded. He had mentioned it before, and he had also said he had had stuff follow him home on the show before.
"Yeah," I said.
"I can't feel them anymore. That darkness. That oppression. I only faintly felt it return when I went back home after Thanksgiving," he said.
I just watched him as he looked around his house. I didn't feel that darkness here, and I knew what kind he was talking about. I've felt it before, too, but never here. I felt like all I wanted to do was have fun and be carefree and happy when I was here. It was like my very own Chuck E. Cheese.
"I wonder," Zak said, glancing over at me with thoughtful eyes, "What if I'm such a dark and pessimistic person, the demons only stayed because I accepted their presence? When I brought Gracie home, they backed off."
I tilted my head to the side, trying to understand what he was saying.
"Gracie brought a ton of light to this place," he went on.
A lightbulb lit up in my mind.
"Do you think that it's because I'm here that they're gone?" I asked.
Zak looked over at me and nodded.
"That's exactly what I think," he said.
Zak walked up to me and hugged me. I wasn't entirely sure what I was getting the hug for, but I hugged him back anyways.
"I should have known that no amount of cleansing or exorcisms could remove the demons from me. I just had to find the light in my life," he said.
I could have hugged him tighter and kissed his cheek. I could have told him how much light he brought into my own life and how much he meant to me, but my inner Patch kicked in and I fired off the first stupid thing that came to mind.
"Bottle me up and label me 'Ghost Repellant,'" I said.
Zak looked at me weird before laughing.
"Sorry," I apologized, laughing as well, "But seriously. Zak, look at me."
Zak looked at me with sad eyes. I could only imagine what kind of hell he had gone throw in this house over the years. What had gone through his mind? What kind of a toll had it taken on him? He had done nothing but try to help and protect not only the living, but also the dead in which had no control over what darkness plagued them. The only solution was to bring in a light. Zak had been a light for so many people, living in this physical plane or otherwise. He did not deserve to be scratched, threatened, pushed, and followed home to where he was supposed to be safe. It hurt me to even think about.
"Don't ever let these things torture you. You have Nick and Aaron and your family for guidance. You have Gracie and you have me now. Zak, I'm proud to be your light," I said.
Zak leaned down and kissed me deeply as he caressed my face with the back of his fingers before holding my cheeks in his massive palms.
Our kiss ended with a wet smack, making me laugh.
"You should be. You make me proud, baby girl," he said.
My happiness is endless.
We spent two weeks in Vegas as I recuperated. Summer was fast approaching, and Zak knew I could not handle the heat. So, we packed up our things and Gracie and flew out to Dallas to pick up Ernie, who was still living with the twins. When we arrived at Nikki's, he squealed with happiness.
"I'm so glad to see that you're okay. How are you feeling?" Nikki asked.
"Like I got hit by a train. Where's my dog?
Zak sniffed out a laugh and wrapped his arm around my waist. Nikki called for Ernie, and the fat lump or a dog came lumbering in and panting. I squatted down near Zak's feet and hugged him.
"I missed you, buddy! Did you have fun with the twins?" I asked as I scratched his ear.
Ernie let out this groan like he always did when I scratched his long ears, making Zak laugh.
"We enjoyed having him, Michael. I can't believe you guys are already back. I thought you had a full schedule?" Nikki asked.
I grabbed Ernie by his old leather collar and led him into his crate. Zak came over and picked it up for me with a grunt.
"We had to postpone filming because Michael doesn't know how to stay out of trouble," Zak said.
I rolled my eyes.
"Oh ha ha! Like you're Mr. Perfect," I said teasingly.
"You guys are so damn cute!" Nikki gushed.
Zak's amber toned cheeks turned deep red. He was too adorable sometimes.
"When will filming start up again?" Nikki asked.
"Possibly next year. That means no new season for this year," Zak replied.
Nikki looked crushed.
"No! I wanted to see you guys in action! What about Eureka Springs?"
"That'll probably be the only one that airs," Zak said.
"Ah, really?" Nikki asked, disappointed.
"Yeah. Travel will probably be having us doing a special or something. This round of filming has like, highlighted how dangerous our job is," Zak said.
"Yeah, 'cause you can be hunting ghosts one minute and fall out of two story roundhouse the next," I said jokingly.
Nikki giggled and Zak just shook his head. It really was too soon for that to be funny, but I was trying to keep the heaviness at bay.
"Well, I'm glad you didn't get seriously hurt, Michael. When Zak called me, I thought that we had surely lost you. Like, I was totally freaking out," Nikki said.
"He cried," Zak said.
"Shut up! I'm a cry-baby," Nikki said.
I reached up and hugged my freakishly tall cousin.
"You're just a drama queen. You'll be alright," I said.
Nikki rolled his eyes.
"So, where are you guys going to go? What are you guys going to do?" Nikki asked curiously.
"We're going to go out to The Hollow. Spend the summer out there. Let Ernie get to know Gracie," I said.
"Aw! You brought Gracie?"
Zak smiled and nodded.
"That's adorable. Well, you two need to come to Dallas some time. We need to hang out and party," Nikki said.
Zak and I laughed.
"We may. We surely may," I said.
I thanked Nikki again for keeping Ernie and told him to say hi to Volta for us. We hugged him and said our goodbyes before driving out to the airport and flying home.
My summer spent with Zak was amazing. We did everything we could think of to do together. We played with the dogs, crashed trains in the backyard, bought one of those blue rubber pools and swam until we were burnt, and even did some heavy fun activity to keep Zak's mind off of the gym. He knew I was a lazy ass and didn't want to do anything when it was 98 degrees with no wind or clouds, but I did it for him, and he loved the shit out of that. Not lying when I say I lost a good five or six pounds.
When July rolled around, the heat became too much. I wanted to go live in Alaska or Canada for awhile. When I read that it was only 72 degrees in Victoria, B.C., I almost had Zak talked into going and spending a week up there. However, we got a call from Nick to come spend some time with him. We packed up the dogs and hopped on a plane and spent a week traveling around New England. My favorite place we stopped at was Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The guys had been there and knew all about the place. I had never been, so I just let Zak take my hand and drag my ass all over the town. I loved the place, but I think my favorite memory from that trip was seeing the serene look on Zak's face as we stood on a cliff and looked over what was once a field of bloodshed and death. It sounds all gloomy and depressing and as far from romantic as one could get, but it was just that.
Zak and I even got back around to dating. With the way we traveled, we had nearly no time to ourselves, but now we did. Zak didn't know the area of Fayetteville that well, so when we did go out into town, I got to pick. A lot of the time, we would go out and eat and catch a movie. Sometimes we would just grab takeout and huddle down in my living room and watch a rental movie or some cheesy horror I grabbed out of the $5 bin at Walmart. We went to two concerts, which were just a mess but they were fun. There were thousands of hot, sweaty, drunk bodies everywhere, and it was hard to avoid beer being sprayed. Zak had a cow when beer got sprayed on me from somewhere behind us. The little punk who had done it about had his ass handed to him. I should have been like "Zak, stop. Leave the little cocksucker alone" but I just let him scream at him. That feeling of having this guy who was double what you are in muscle mass and stood a good six inches taller than you protecting you because you were his just had me on this high. Go ahead, Zak. Make that little prick piss his pants. But let me tell you, it was all amazing!
Zak and I re-celebrated our birthdays, since our's were so shitty. I told him I really didn't mind mine being redone. It was just a day to me. I like celebrating other people's birthdays. Zak wasn't going to have that. If we were going to do something, we had to do it right. I had to remember that Zak Bagans never did anything half-assed. I did, but he didn't always let me get away with it. I devoted an entire day for him. We went to a car show they had downtown. Zak loved the hell out of that, as did I. I'm not a girly-girl, so it made it easier to share interests with Zak. That night, we made dinner together, which was a mess, because I cannot follow a recipe to save my life. We had flour everywhere, but his cake turned out to be the best damn cake I had ever had. That night, we laid on the couch and watch Bram Stoker's Dracula, the one we had wanted to watch on the plane to Romania. Zak kept trying to reenact some scenes with me, and we ended up in the heavenly, hot make-out session. I don't even remember how to movie ended!
Also, I got my tattoo. The scar was gnarly and was bothering Zak every time he looked at it, so he designed what the basis of the tattoo would be, had Aaron draw up and sketch, and I went in with Zak to have the sleeve done. On the top half of my arm that had been stabbed, I got a skeleton woman that resembled me grinning wickedly and holding a gun while three zombies lie dead in the background. This was inspired by my zombie dream I had back after the Maizy Theatre lockdown. The three zombies resembled my three instances with spirits that changed me, including my being attacked by Dracula possessed Zak, my possession in Lanark Nursing home, and my accident at in the roundhouse. I know there were more, but these three were the most prominent. The skeleton me was standing on top of a pile of skulls with vampire teeth, which transitioned into the bottom portion of my arm, which is where my GAC tattoos began.
Around the time August rolled around, Zak, Nick, and Aaron decided to give the viewers and the fans something to watch to explain why they were not getting all new episodes and tiding them over until the season's restart. They thought about filming a special that was in the style of some of their others such as "Wickedest Women, Houses of Terror, and Bloodiest Battlefields." The boys thought about sitting in front of camera and discussing our most dangerous season, but they agreed I would also have to be sitting there talking with them, and none of us really had the patience for it. However, for the airing of the Eureka Springs episode, we were going to do a little bit of this. Nick, Zak, Aaron, Billy and myself would be hosting at episode and filming an intro on why this was the only episode that would air. It was by the request of the network that we do this, but we thought it sounded like a really good idea.
The boys made an agreement with the network to host a huge radio event that would take place in New York City. Fans could buy tickets, come meet the guys, buy merch, and watch the boys being interviewed and have their questions answered. Nick thought of possibly having a projection screen up and showing the fans just a few clips from episodes that were not going to be aired. It sounded like another good way to bring in more people, as if exclusive radio event with the Ghost Adventures Crew wasn't enough. Since I already had my blogs and vlogs up for the locations, we allowed some of the clips to be posted on Travel Channel's website. Zak loved this idea. He wanted to present how dangerous our job really was and tell fans and aspiring ghost adventurers that this was just as dangerous as any job having to do with crime or hazardous environments or anything that could put your life at risk. That message I know did not transfer well over TV, no matter what the captions said or what one saw happen to the boys. There were still people who thought we were fake, and it was our job to prove them wrong.
The event was hosted in September. Zak, Nick, and Aaron had their own places at the front table, but Billy, Jay and I were also open for questions. We had to stand by, but we were still included. The day of the event, I noticed Zak didn't talk much. The one who did the majority of the talking was Nick.
Before the event even started, Aaron was up beside me with a camera in my face filming an Aaron's Vlog. We were out near the back of the room waiting for the event to start. The place was packed with fans, the majority of which being teenaged girls. That pissed me off, but there was nothing I could do about it. Fans were fans.
I was feeling not so straight today. Billy and I had been picked to provide additional security for the event. We did have real security guards here. Some were in the hallways, and some were standing at the exits. They were wearing navy or black with badges and gun holsters. Billy and I were in semi uniform. We both had on navy t-shirts that said "SECURITY" on the back in big, bold white letters like one would see at concerts and such. We both decided to wear black cargo shorts with tennis shoes. We looked pretty sweet. We had no weapons, unless you counted our phones. We were just there for looks. Billy had suggested we wear sunglasses. Mine were not very threatening, which the plaid arms and all, so I snitched Zak's aviators and wore them along with one of his hats on backwards. Not a very girly look, but more of a tough look. I thought that if I looked like I could pound the shit out of someone, no one would give me any trouble.
"There are so many fans here. Like this place is packed," Aaron told the camera.
"I'm sure we're over the limit for people to be in here. The fire department would shit bricks," I said.
"Well, maybe if we're boring enough, they'll thin out," Aaron said.
Billy approached us, pretending to be all cool for the camera.
"I doubt it, Aaron. Look at all these Zak fangirls," Billy pointed out.
"Oh, that's bullshit, Billy. They're here for me," Aaron said smugly.
"You think we can fight some people off?" Billy asked me.
I honestly knew I could not beat up a single person, man or woman, in this room. However, I would put up a fight if need be. Doubted it, though.
"Oh yeah," I said sarcastically.
I still couldn't believe Aaron had not been recognized. We were standing right beside a row full of people just jumping with excitement to see the guys.
"Well, I better had on back and make an entrance," Aaron said.
"You gonna big step?" Billy asked.
"Hell yeah!" Aaron said, then hugged us both.
"Protect us," he said, then pretended to cry and sniff, "Our lives are depending on you two."
Billy and I laughed. Aaron slipped out through the door and head to wherever Nick and Zak were.
"I got us these," Billy said.
I turned to see Billy holding two long metal flashlights.
"What will we need these for?" I asked.
"It's just for looks. But they do hurt. Aaron hit me with one a few weeks ago and my arm is still sore," he said.
I laughed and took mine. The announcer came out and the crowd began clapping.
"Good luck," Billy whispered.
"You too," I said.
The lights dimmed and the boys entered through a door behind where their table was on a short stage. Nick came through first and waved and smiled before taking his seat in the middle. Aaron came out next and I'll kiss your elbow if he didn't Big Step out of the door. The crowd erupted as Aaron put on his little comedy act and took his seat on Nick's right. It found it weird that Zak was going to be on the end, but I didn't put much thought into it. When Zak came out, my heart stopped. He looked like he owned the building as he cracked a smile for the crowd. The younger women squealed and swooned, and I hate to say it, but on the inside, I was one of them.
Nick had the floor for the majority of the interview. He answered most of everyone's questions and began talking about the dangers that came along with our job.
"You know, all three of us have had some sort of possession in the passed. Zak has had not only one, but now two exorcisms performed on him because of the evil that attaches to him," Nick said.
"Zak is a demon magnet," Aaron added.
Zak was nodding.
"The first exorcism was at Bobby Mackey's, but the second we had performed back in April while filming. We were in Romania at Castle Poenari, which is the real home of Vlad the Impaler. You know, Dracula. I was investigating with Nick when it happened," Zak said.
"Yeah, we were walking and talking and I turn to ask Zak a question and he is gone. Just, poof! Disappeared. We had Billy and Mikey up there helping us look for him. It was crazy," Nick said.
"That was a really bad experience. You know, I had been a fan of Vlad the Impaler for some time, but now I want nothing more to do with him. When you have a violent demonic possession like I had, you can't not take this stuff seriously. The footage was horrific, I bet," Zak said.
"Nah, we didn't film it," Aaron said.
"Oh! Well even if we had, that footage would have never been available to the public. That was a bad, bad, bad deal," Zak said.
Nick and Aaron nodded. I knew exactly what they were talking about, and I'm glad there was no visual proof of that ordeal.
"But I'll tell you, Romania, if any of you ever have to the chance to visit, do it! It is the most romantic country on Earth. You will not regret it and neither will your lover. It's like Paris, but a million times better. Guys, if you want to take your girl on an amazing honeymoon or your wife on an anniversary vacation or something, take her to Romania. It's a place of love and blood, and girls love blood," Zak said.
I laughed at that as I paced up the rows of people to the stage, swinging my flashlight like I was tough shit.
A bunch of girls sitting in the front row began to squeal after Zak spoke about Romania. One was screaming as if she had jizzed her pants. It seemed to me like she was having a conniption fit. I looked over at Billy, who was way over on the other side of the audience. He shrugged and twirled his index finger by his head, mouthing the word "cuckoo." I laughed and continued my slow journey towards the front row. Maybe I could scare them and they would chill out.
"I love you, Zak!" one shouted.
I began to approach the first row. I caught eyes with Nick, who began to start laughing. He turned and grabbed Aaron's attention. He burst out laughing.
"Michael, calm down!" Aaron called to me.
Of course, that made the whole room look at me. I kept my poker face and when the girls turned to look at me, a gave then a menacing stare. They had to be like 14 or 15. One actually paled. I guess she thought I was going to throw her out. It was tempting.
"Watch out! Pissed off girlfriend," Nick said, laughing.
I looked up and smirked. Our manager as well as Billy started laughing. Zak looked up at me and laughed.
"Michael, I would rather you not kill anyone today," Zak said, "Come up here."
I shook my head. I wasn't going up there! No way!
"You girls better be careful," Aaron said, "Michael will knock the tar out of you."
I said nothing to them. I was enjoying their silence.
"Michael, come here," Zak repeated.
Camera focused on me.
"I'm not coming up there. This is your interview," I said.
Nick and Aaron smiled.
"Michael, do as your told," he said playfully.
I gave up and walked up to the small stage were a long table with mics was set up for the boys. I walked over to stand between Nick and Zak.
"Michael is our photographer," Nick introduced me, "You guys may have seen some of her work on our blog. She's been with us since the last leg of the previous season. She is one of the greatest friends we've had and a damn good ghost hunter, even though it's usually just us three."
The audience had their eyes set on me. God, I hated that!
"She's been Zak's girlfriend for-how long has it been?" Nick asked.
Zak spoke up.
"God!" I groaned.
Nick looked up at me and giggled. Talking about this in front of a ton of people bothered me. I wasn't embarrassed by it, just embarrassed to be the center of attention.
"Let me tell you guys about Michael," Zak began.
Again, the crew was laughing as I turned around and tried to hide.
"Michael has been a gift to us. She's been such a great addition to the crew and the show and our own personal lives. She's our best friend. She takes care of us. She helps us. She kicks our asses when she has to."
People laughed at that. Zak turned to me, holding his mic close enough where people could still hear him talk. He reached up and held my hand.
"We've been together for what feels like forever. She has been the most amazing person to me. A lot of times when I get in a dark funk, people outside of the Crew can't help or don't understand. It scares them, but Michael dives right into it. She's the only woman I've ever seen chase a ghost down with a pocket knife in one hand and a camera in the other."
The audience laughed.
"She has been through the wringer, let me tell you. Even before we hired her, she's had more than her fair share of hell. When she started working with us, she proved to be a really good investigator and made a really good trigger object, believe it or not. She was featured in the Dunlap Mansion episode, which I promise is not fake. Under no circumstances was that staged."
"That was the most controversial episode we have ever had, but that whole scene was completely unedited," Nick said.
"Yeah," Zak agreed, "That was completely raw, and we learned a lot from that lockdown. But ever since then, we tried to include Michael on a lockdown. She's captured awesome evidence. She caught an apparition at Maizy," Zak said.
"That made us both sicker than dogs," Nick chimed in.
We laughed at that.
"Even before all of this," Aaron said, "We got stuck at the shitty hotel. We called it Camp Bullshit, but anyways."
The crowd laughed.
"And Michael found trouble there. Zak beat the shit out of this one guy. It was amazing!"
"Aaron, stop," Zak said, "That's not the point. As I was saying, after that she ran into family problems that I don't think I myself could overcome, but she did. I just thought that was incredible. After that was her possession, which you will only see half of in the Lanark episode."
"It seems every time Michael went on a lockdown, something bad happened," Nick laughed.
I just smiled at that.
"Yeah, no more lockdowns, Mikey," Zak agreed.
"Fine with me," I said.
Some of the audience members and the guys laughed at that.
"Michael was the reason we had to cancel the season finale. Do you mind if I tell this story, Mikey?" Zak asked.
"Go ahead," I said.
"Okay, um, we were loading up and getting ready to head on to the lockdown and Michael gets a call from the police department in Fayetteville, Arkansas telling her she needs to come down and identify a body. She tells me and I made up my mind on the spot. I was like, I'm going to go with her and be there. There was no questioning it. I wasn't going to let her fly all the way to Arkansas by herself. We were in Canada! So, I tell the guys. I said 'You guys can do the show without me or cancel it, but I'm going to fly back with Mikey' and Nick and Aaron didn't even think twice about. They cancelled filming and flew to Mikey's the following day. Patch, her aunt that passed, was her only family there and we wanted to support her."
"We hated to cancel the season finale, but this was a little more important," Nick said, "You know, I've had to leave during a walkthrough because of a family tragedy, but this was different."
"Yeah," Zak agreed, "Nick had family to go home to. Michael had us and that was about it."
"She had you, bro," Aaron said, "We couldn't do the lockdown without you and we wanted to support her."
"So, we went down there and stayed with her for a while," Nick said.
"Things started to pick up after that, though," Zak said, "We got back out on the road and had an amazing first lockdown. This was the one that will be airing next month on Halloween night. Michael co-hosted this with us and did an awesome reenactment scene."
"It wasn't awesome," I mumbled.
"Yes, it was, Michael. Shut up," Zak said.
The guys and I laughed.
"Anyways, we got some fantastic evidence from that lockdown. We got touched, we had apparitions of not only people, but also what we believe were objects that belonged to people who died there."
"Don't forget the cat. Mikey and I found a ghost cat," Aaron said.
"Yeah, that too. In the morgue we captured doors opening and Class A EVPs. It was amazing, but the following locations gave us very little evidence. It wasn't until we went to Poenari that we started getting good evidence again, and sometimes with this job, that's how it is," Zak finished.
"Yeah, but we got virtually nothing before we went to Romania," Nick said.
"Yeah, those episodes are not even worth your time. But when we went to Romania, my birthday was on the lockdown day and Michael and Aaron went to a little gift shop in Bristita and bought some cool vampire stuff. Michael bought this big, awesome knife, and stupid me took it to the lockdown and Michael got on the wrong end of it during the possession."
Zak took a breather before he continued. He looked up at me with sad eyes. He would probably never let that go. I reached up to stroke the side of his face in a way to tell him that it was okay and he should continue.
"It almost destroyed us. I will never forgive myself for that, no matter if it was a possession or not because I broke a promise I made not only to myself and to her, but to her late aunt who took care of her when she had no one else. But, this amazing-truly amazing girl here forgave me. She made every attempt to help me get over it. She held me rid myself of my demons that have haunted me since I started this job. She brought love and light into my life and I don't know what I did to deserve someone as good as her. I must have pleased someone," Zak said looking up at the ceiling.
I could not control the smile on my face. I felt like an idiot and my cheeks hurt, but I couldn't stop. Zak stood up and hugged me, making the entire audience go "Aww!"
"Michael, sweetie, I gotta ask you something," he said.
My heart beat picked up and I backed up to look at him nervously.
"It's not anything bad, I promise," he said.
I must have looked scared, because he reached up and put a comforting hand on the side of my neck.
"If you embarrass me," I began.
"I'm not, sweetie. Come here. Come closer," he said.
I walked in closer to him until our stomachs were brushing against each other.
"Where are the cameras?" he asked Nick and Aaron.
"There and there," Aaron said, pointing to the camera directly in front of us and one off to the side.
"Not to mention everyone in here that has a camera or phone," Nick said quietly.
"They can't see," he said, "Can we please back the cameras off? Shot from the waist up? I don't want any cameras up close when I do this."
I watched as the cameramen backed up and tilted their cameras upwards. What was Zak up to? Zak rummaged in his jacket pocket. I assumed he was fishing out his phone. I failed to notice that it was already on the table..
"Dude!" Aaron suddenly burst out, slamming his hand down hard on the table.
I nearly jumped out of my skin.
"What? What's wrong?" I asked over my shoulder.
"Fuck off!" Zak hissed at Aaron.
"Zak, are you-" Nick was cut off.
"Shut. The. Fuck. Up!" Zak snapped.
Nick was bouncing up and down and Aaron was chewing his nails.
"What's going on?" I asked Zak.
Zak pointed down to the hand that was hidden from view. I looked down to see him open a box with one hand. He took my hand with his free one and held it tightly. My eyes were not that great, and I couldn't see it until it caught the above lighting.
"What the fuck is that?" I asked, trying to back away from him.
"Michael, don't freak," Nick said from behind me.
"Zak?" I asked, scared.
Zak smiled up at me.
"Michael Tesla Wilde," he began.
"Oh my God!" I burst out.
The boys started laughing. What was in that box was something I bet no one on Earth who knew Zak thought he would ever buy. He kept the box down and out of sight so the cameras wouldn't catch it.
"Will you marry me?" he whispered.
I covered my mouth. I didn't know what to say. Well, it was more like I didn't know how 'cause tears were streaming down my face.
"Aw, Mikey," Nick said.
I threw my arms around Zak.
"Yes!" I cried into his shoulder.
Zak slapped the box closed and wrapped his arms around me.
"Baby, don't cry," he said.
"Did she say yes?" Aaron asked.
"Yeah, man," Zak said.
"Oh my God! Finally!" Nick exclaimed happily.
The crowd erupted. Nick and Aaron hugged us, followed by Billy, who had ran up there. The rest of the crew eventually made their way up and joined us in this giant group hug.
"I love you so much, Zak," I whispered into his chest.
Zak tilted my head and kissed me with more passion than I ever had experienced. The group hug melted away as Zak clutched me against him. We parted and I looked up into those deep, gorgeous blue eyes of his.
"I love you too, Mikey," he whispered.
Nick wrapped his arms around me from behind and laid his head against the back of mine. Aaron sniffed sharply.
"You smell that? I told you, Michael. I fucking told you," he said.
Finally. I was finally officially in a real family.