**Author's Note: As promised. The next chapter. Couldn't leave you with a cliffhanger like that. That would be very mean of me... :)
Half an hour later, Zac and I were rushing into the emergency room. It didn't take long to find the rest of his family, since they took up almost half of the family waiting room. Quite a few of the family members had flown back to their respective homes after the wedding, but there were still 10 or so members of the Efron clan present.
Dylan was sitting on one of the couches, with his head in his hands. Kelsey was kneeling in front of him with her hands on his knees, trying to comfort him. She saw Zac and I approach and walked over to us quickly.
"Kelsey, what happened? All Dylan said on the phone was that mom was in an accident and that she is in pretty bad shape," Zac said quickly and quietly.
"Well you know about as much as we do. She went to the grocery store this morning to get food for breakfast, and we got a call a while later saying she had been in an accident and was being rushed here. We've been waiting for about an hour but haven't really heard anything."
"Where's my dad?" Zac questioned anxiously, looking around the small waiting room.
"We can't get a hold of him. He left early this morning to go surfing, and he's not answering his phone. We've left about ten messages, but he must not have his phone with him," Kelsey explained.
Zac sighed and sat down in the closest chair and I sat down next to him, not letting go of his hand.
I looked up at Kelsey. "Is there anything that I can do?" I asked. "Do you want me to make a coffee run or something?"
Kelsey looked around the room at the members of the family, her eyes coming to rest on her husband of less than 48 hours. "I guess that might be good. I just feel helpless. Dylan thinks that this is his fault, and I don't know what to say to him to change his mind," Kelsey said, her eyes welling up with tears.
Zac looked up at her. "Why would he think that this is his fault?"
Kelsey brushed away a tear. "Because he had told Starla that he was really in the mood for the waffles she always makes, and she was going to the store to buy the things to make them. So he thinks that it's his fault. I just don't know what to say to him to change his mind. The first test in our marriage, and I'm already failing."
Zac stood up, letting go of my hand, and hugged Kelsey. "You're not failing, Kels. Dylan is the most stubborn person I know. There's not really anything you or anyone can say. But let me try talking to him." Zac said with a half-hearted smile. He kissed me on the cheek and rubbed Kelsey's shoulder before going and sitting down next to his brother.
I turned to face Kelsey and pulled her into a hug as she fought back tears. "Kels, it's going to be okay," I said quietly.
"But I'm supposed to be there for Dylan. This is the first real emergency that we've had to face together, and I'm already doing a horrible job."
"You're not, Kelsey. With stuff like this, there's not always anything that you can do or say. Everything is pretty much out of our hands right now. What matters is that you are here with him and you're being there for him. It doesn't always mean saying something to make him feel better; just being here with him is what really matters."
Kelsey stood looking at the floor, tears rolling down her cheeks. After a minute, she looked up at me and smiled half-heartedly. "Thanks, Vanessa."
"No problem, Kels. We all just need to be there for each other right now, so I'll do whatever I can for you." I hugged her again. "So should we see if anyone wants coffee or food?"
"Sure," Kelsey answered, and we went around the room taking orders for coffee. As we approached Zac and Dylan, Kelsey took a deep breath. She put her hand on Dylan's shoulder. "Baby, do you need anything? Ness and I are going to go get coffee for everyone."
Dylan looked up at his wife, and his eyes were red from crying. Zac stood up and wrapped his arm around my waist, kissing my cheek and resting his head on the top of mine. Dylan took Kelsey's hand and pulled her down onto the couch next to him. "Do you think you could just sit with me, baby? I need you," he said quietly. Kelsey's eyes welled up with tears and she wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling him into a tight hug.
"I'm here, babe. I'll always be here," Kelsey said quietly.
Zac grabbed my hand and lead me away from Dylan and Kelsey. "Let's let them be together, Ness. I'll go on the coffee run with you," Zac whispered in my ear.
"Are you sure you don't want to stay here and wait for news? I can go by myself," I said.
Zac immediately shook his head. "No, I'm coming with you. If they find anything out in the next few minutes, someone will call."
Zac and I walked to the Starbuck's across the street, and placed our order. We sat down to wait, and Zac held my hand across the table.
"So how are you holding up, baby?" I asked, rubbing the back of his hand with my thumb.
"Okay, I guess. I'm really worried about my mom. And I can't believe that my dad still hasn't gotten any of the messages. I don't whether I should be worried or pissed off."
"Well I'm sure that there's a good explanation for your dad not calling yet. Try not to jump to any conclusions, babe. You have a lot going on right now, and worrying is only going to make it worse. I'm sure that everything is going to be okay. And I'm sure they're doing all they can for your mom. She's going to be fine, babe."
"I hope you're right. I just wish that we knew what was going on with her," Zac said quietly, looking down at the table. A second later, his phone rang. Zac quickly picked it up. "Dylan, what's going on," he asked quickly. "Oh, Kelsey, hi. Any news?" He sat in silence for a moment as he listened to his sister-in-law on the other end of the phone. "Okay, thanks Kels. We'll be back in a minute," Zac said before hanging up the phone. "That was Kelsey. The doctor is talking to Dylan right now with the news. So we should get back there as soon as our order is up," Zac said anxiously.
"Zac, you should just go back. I can bring the coffee over. You need to go find out what's happening with your mom."
"Are you sure? There's a lot to carry. I don't want to leave you here alone."
"It's fine, I promise. You need to go be with your family. I'll be there in a few minutes," I assured him.
"Okay, well then I'll see you soon, baby." He stood up and gave me a quick kiss before hurrying out and across the street. I sat alone in the Starbuck's waiting for the coffee. I was anxious to get back to the hospital, both so that I could find out what was happening with Starla as well as be there with Zac. A few minutes later, the coffee order was ready, and I headed back across the street juggling three drink carriers.
I walked into the emergency waiting room to find the Efron family, including Zac's father, sitting around the room. From the looks on their faces, I could tell that the news from the doctor had not been positive. I set the coffee down on one of the small tables and rushed over to Zac, who was sitting on the couch with Kelsey and Dylan.
"Zac, what's the news?" I asked, taking his hand.
"Well I guess she had internal bleeding and some other stuff, but they took care of it. They said she's going to be fine, but it'll take her a while to fully recover 'cause she has a collapsed lung and a broken arm. We're allowed to go in and see her cause she's awake now, but they're only letting a few people go at a time. My dad and Dylan are in there now," Zac explained, his voice hoarse with emotion and his hands shaking. He stared down at the floor, taking deep breaths to try and relax.
I put my hands gently on the sides of his face and raised his head to look at me. "She's going to be okay, Zac. You heard it yourself. She's going to be fine, we don't have to worry anymore," I said gently, and kissed him softly before pulling him into a hug. He hugged me for a moment before taking a step backwards. I turned to see David and Dylan heading towards us.
"Do you want to go in and see her?" David asked Zac.
"Yeah, in a minute," Zac said quietly before turning to face me. "Babe, why don't you go in and see her. I need to talk to my dad really quickly. I'll be in there in a minute." I was confused, but I nodded and followed the nurse that had walked out with Zac's father and brother. She led me to one of the recovery rooms, where Starla was lying, most of her visible body covered in bandages.
I walked slowly over to the bed and stood next to her, picking up her bandage-free hand. She opened her eyes slowly and looked up at me with a weak smile.
"How are you feeling?" I asked quietly.
"I've had better days. But I'll be fine," she said weakly. I was glad that at least her sense of humor was still intact. She squeezed my hand slightly. "Where's Zac? Is he here?" She asked.
"Yeah, he's out talking to David."
Starla sighed. "I hope he's not giving him a hard time. I heard it took him a while to get Dylan's messages. I bet Zac's not happy with him," Starla said quietly, looking sad.
"Well Zac was just concerned, that's all. I'm sure everything is okay," I tried to reassure her.
Starla took her hand out of mine and softly patted the bed next to her, so I sat down and picked up her hand again. "While Zac isn't around, there's something I need to say to you, sweetie," Starla said quietly. I became nervous and my heart started beating faster. She must have sensed my nervousness, because she continued quickly. "It's not bad, I promise. I just wanted to tell you that I'm so happy for you and Zac; that you are working things out and trying to figure out where you stand. You are the best thing that has ever happened to him. I just want to thank you for making him the man that he is today. You bring out the best in him," she said softly, with a small smile. I felt tears rolling down my cheeks. "And I don't know what you two have discussed or what the future holds for you, but I know that whatever happens, Zac is a better man for having you in his life." Starla squeezed my hand again as I wiped my tears with my other hand.
The door opened and I turned to see Zac walk in behind the same nurse who had lead me to the room. When Zac saw me in tears, he walked quickly to me and took my free hand. "Are you okay?" He asked with a look of concern on his face.
I nodded and smiled, "Yeah, I'm fine. We were just talking." And I turned to smile at Starla, who returned my smile the best she could. "I'll leave you alone with your mom," I said, squeezing Starla's hand again before standing up and giving Zac a hug and kiss on the cheek. "I love you," I whispered in his ear.
"I love you," he whispered back. "I'll be out in a few minutes," he said as I walked toward the door. He sat down on the bed where I had been sitting a moment earlier and took his mother's hand in both of his. I heard him ask her how she was feeling before I shut the door behind me.
I made my way back to the waiting room to join the rest of Zac's family. When I got back to the waiting room, only David, Dylan and Kelsey were still sitting there.
"Where is everyone else?" I inquired.
"Some of them went to get lunch, some of them had planes to catch. They had all just been waiting to hear that she'd be okay," Kelsey answered. She was holding and rubbing Dylan's hand, because he did not appear to be any less worried or upset than he had been before he knew his mother would be all right.
David stood up and stretched. "I think I'm going to go see if I can find a doctor and try to find out how long she'll be in here." He headed off towards the nurse's station, and I sat down in one of the chairs a few seats down from the couch where Kelsey and Dylan were seated.
I leaned back and rested my head against the wall and though back over the events of the last 72 hours. They were proof of how quickly everything could change. I had gone from being alone and miserable, to having to choose between Zac and Aaron, to being completely happy with Zac. Now with Starla's accident and today's events, I wondered what other changes were to come. It scared me to think that in a moment, everything could change. I felt like all I was doing was waiting for the next change. Waiting to find out what it was going to be. Was my life going to change for the better or for the worse tomorrow? There was no way of knowing, and that scared me. All I knew was that I could face whatever changes life was going to throw at me as long as Zac was with me.
Just as I had thought that, Zac came walking into the waiting room. He walked over and sat down next to me, but stared at the floor instead of looking at me.
"Do you feel any better now? Your mom is fine, she's going to be okay," I said reassuringly, taking his hand. "You can be happy now, it's all okay," I said with a smile.
After a moment, he looked up at me and I smiled again. "We need to talk," he said quietly.
There was no smile on his face.
**Author's Note: Hehe, I did it again. Cliffhangers, cliffhangers.... Next chapter up soon!