The Parental Plot

Or, the diary of Zander Robbie West (Oliver).

Jade/Beck.

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Dear Diary,

My name is Zander Robbins. Well technically I guess it's Zander West, but I tend to go by Zander Robbins (a play on my middle name, Robbie) because it helps with the paparazzi and stuff. I guess you could say my mom's kinda famous, but mostly she's just my mom, and I don't really think of her as anything but my mom. Sometimes when she comes to pick me up, the other kids gawk, but whatever. This isn't really about her. It's about me for once.

My mom's friend Tori gave this to me. Tori is like, a famous pop star, and she and my mom went to high school together so now they're really good friends even if my mom denies it. Tori is pretty and nice and she gave me a diary because she says she feels 'sorry for me'. She thinks my mom's really mean or something; I don't know. I tried to tell her that diaries are boring and feminine but she didn't listen, which means I'm stuck with it, so I figured I might as well use it. (Mom will be pleased, I'm sure. She's always yelling at me to expand my vocabulary and stuff, not that I ever usually listen.)

You see, I'm not a writer really in case you couldn't tell. I'm a boy, for one, and I know that writing isn't like a girl thing to do but still. I want to be a musician once I get older. Maybe I'll even form a band! How cool would that be? I like to sing and I love my ukulele; it's practically my baby. Even though I'm a guy and I technically can't have a baby. You know.

Sometimes I like to act too, but that makes my mom sad. She just glances down at the ground with these big old puppy dog eyes and I think that it must have something to do with my dad. I've never met my dad. I mean, maybe when I was a baby, but not lately. I don't remember him, but I know just from the looks of me that he had dark hair and brown eyes, plus tanned skin, since mine is a light brown and my mom's basically a ghost. I wonder a lot about him, about what he's like, about what his name is. I wonder if he ever thinks about me. I mean, surely he knows about me!

I'm gonna go ask my mom about him. Stay tuned! If you can.

Mom says that he was a jerk. I don't think she's telling the truth though, because she looked down and batted her eyelashes like she always does when she's lying. She says he never met me, that he left before I was even born. Maybe Mom left him, Diary. But anyway I would like to meet him, but if I tell her she'll be sad and think she's not enough. I care about her a lot, Diary, okay? But I think I'd like to meet my dad too.

I think you should have a name 'cause Diary doesn't really sound all that manly. How about Eugene Ursinus? I think that's a beautiful name, but my mom says it sounds like an old man and then she scowls. She can be rude sometimes, but I guess that's where I get my sarcastic tendencies from, as Aunt Tori calls them. Haha. Well I guess that's it for now! Boy, I wrote a lot. Maybe this writing thing isn't so bad.

Love From – Zander

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Dear Diary,

Today I went to eat with my best friend Jacob. Jake's like, the only one who understands about this stuff, cause he's adopted – by my Aunt Tori actually – and so he knows how it is to feel abandoned. But he has a daddy, my Uncle Andre, and so he doesn't totally understand. And I gotta say that it felt pretty sad to sit there and watch the two of them bonding over hot dogs and hamburgers while I sat there and missed my own daddy.

It's hard to miss someone you've never met. I guess I miss the idea of him, the idea of fishing with him at the edge of the pier near our house or swimming in the ocean with him or him teaching me how to ride a bike. (I can't, you know. Ride a bike, that is. I never learned. My mom thinks it's a waste of time.)

Jake's really funny though, and he tried to keep me included in the conversation by bringing up the stupid shows we both watch and 'those weirdo bands I'm into'. I'll have you know that they're not weird, Eugene; they're just not typical for young boys, I guess. My mom introduced me to them. I think maybe my mom has a little too much influence over me.

But it's not like I don't rebel. Like today I took my ukulele and went to one of the street corners to play, and apparently everyone thought I was a beggar child because they gave me money, which, like I said, having a semi-famous mom, I really don't need! I just smiled and gave it back to them, saying that I was glad they enjoyed my music. Then some cop car came around the corner so I got scared and ran away.

Oh yeah – and also today I watched that movie that came out with that musical guy who travels around the world to find himself or whatever. The one starring Beck Oliver (who, by the way, is like my favorite actor ever and I don't get why my mom won't get his autograph for me, seriously). Maybe one day I'll get to do something like that. Maybe one day I'll be famous too – and not just because of my mom, but because I have real talent. At least that's what my music teacher told me on the first day of class when I could read all the musical notes on her sheet music and recognize every note when she played them. I have real talent. That's pretty cool, right?

Uh oh, Aunt Cat's here. Apparently she's bringing her old roommate and her family over because they're filming a movie here or something, I don't remember. Apparently her old roommate's husband is that really cool film director, Freddie Benson. But this isn't a huge deal, at least for me, cause of my mom and her pals I meet famous people a lot. (But hardly ever record producers, which sucks for me…)

Gotta go. I'll write about what happened later, okay?

Much love, baby – Zander

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Dear Eugene Ursinus,

I met a girl. Well, not like that, I don't think. But I like her, maybe not in a romantic sort of way but definitely in a friendship sort of way. She's really really smart, I can tell, and really funny too, and her name is Stevie, which is a boy name but she's definitely a girl. When she showed up I thought she was gonna be a prisspot, but then she started talking and I could tell she wasn't.

She likes music, Eugene. Like she wants to be a musician, and also she plays guitar, pretty well from what I hear. She has long brown hair and tanned skin, even darker than mine actually, and bright hazel eyes and – is this normal? She's pretty, I know, but I feel like… I dunno. Anyway, she said she liked my ukulele and she seemed impressed when I played a little bit for her. I think we could be really good friends, and she said she'd definitely come over again sometime. (Definitely! How cool is that?)

But the most interesting thing is that she wants to go to Hollywood Arts too. Now I don't know if I've told you but Mom went to this school in LA (which isn't too far from where we live) called Hollywood Arts, and it's an arts school, which means music, theater, screenwriting, dance – all that good stuff. It's a high school, though, and if I want to get in, I've got to audition and I've got to do it well. Lemme tell you, Eugene, I've been practicing ever since I was like, five. I am going to get into Hollywood Arts, Eugene; I have to, and all the more now that Stevie might go too.

Music is me. I sing and I play ukulele and I express myself in ways I didn't even think I could. Music is a part of me, like my hand or my foot or my leg. And that might sound really corny but it's true, and it's nice that I've found someone that I can share that with.

Anyway I'm glad Sam and Freddie came over and brought their daughter, and my mom seems pleased that we hit it off, which is good because she won't complain if I want to invite over Stevie, especially since she seemed to hit it off with Stevie's mom (her mom is really aggressive and funny, too).

Well, anyway, I guess that's it for now. I gotta go to sleep; I've got school tomorrow. I wonder if my English teacher will give me extra credit for this? Yeah, I know, nice try. Well, night, Eugene!

Bye! – Zander

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Dear Eugene Ursinus,

Today the weirdest thing happened, okay? I went to school, which is pretty much normal because Mom always makes me go to school (I'm going to be a musician; I don't need school except for Hollywood Arts!), and then when I got home, there was a guy there.

And I don't mean like a little kid. I mean like a guy, a guy Mom's age, like a handsome guy (I mean, I guess), and he was standing in our kitchen.

Now you should know, Eugene, that my mom, as a general rule, doesn't date. It's just never happened before, ever since my dad, I guess, so I didn't think I'd ever have to worry about this – about stepdads and losers who my mom dates and all that stuff like other divorced kids. So I'm just standing there, my mouth open in surprise, until my mom finally notices I'm there. "Oh. Zander. Hey, kiddo."

Then the guy whips his (really long) hair around to look at me and raises an eyebrow in surprise. There was something familiar about him, something that gave me an odd sense of déjà vu, but I had never seen him before in my life. He stares at me for a moment and then says to my mom, "This is Zander?" like I'm something special. And my mom just ducks her head like she's embarrassed, and she says "Yes," in a soft sort of voice. Also, my mom is not soft. She's abrasive (like Aunt Tori says) and sort of mean sometimes but not soft. Suddenly, I wanted to know who this guy actually was.

"Nice to meet you, Zander," the guy says, his voice catching. "My name is, um, Beck… you can call me, um…" He looks to my mom for a second, then back at me. "Uh… you can call me Beck for now, if you want. I know I'm a grown-up, but still."

"Kay." I force a smile, and then turn back to my mom. "I've got homework, kay?"

"Go for it," my mom answers in a tired sort of voice, and then I turn and flee up the stairs. Truth was that I was concerned about this, about this in general – this guy had only just showed up and already he was influencing my mom and – who is he, anyway? He can't just barge into our lives like this and turn everything upside down! I don't even know him! What if he hurts my mom? This possibility scared me a lot, and so I crept down the stairs to eavesdrop on them.

Beck was speaking to my mom in a low voice. "He looks a lot like you, Jade."

"Not that much," my mom replies, her voice still low. "His father's been missing for a long time, you know – I didn't mean to leave, Beck, honestly. But I didn't know how to deal, and I guess I still don't, and…" She was crying, I knew that much. But I still thought this whole thing was super weird.

When I peer around the corner (like a creeper, yes I know – Auntie Tori taught it to me!), I see this Beck guy hugging my mom, and so I get even more paranoid. Was he stealing my mom away? And now I'm here to tell you that he can't – she's the only thing I have, okay? And I don't like this Beck guy already. Sure he's like handsome, but handsome guys are sometimes jerks, like the ones at my school! I'm practically an expert on this stuff! But still I wanna know who this Beck guy is and why he showed up at our house. Maybe I'll go over to Jake's and ask Auntie Tori or Uncle Andre, because they know like practically everything, and if that fails, I'll ask Uncle Robbie – cause I'm his namesake he can't really deny me anything.

I'm hiding in my room now – oh wait, there's my mom. I'm pretending I'm writing and I guess I really am so she won't talk to me. Oh wait, she's talking about how he's just an old friend – yeah right, maybe an old boyfriend – and how she thinks I would like him. Like him! As if! But I'm nodding and pretending like maybe she's right, because she obviously cares about this jerky guy. Ha!

Sort of annoyedly yours – Zander.

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Dear Eugene,

This Beck guy won't leave. He came over twice yesterday, and then once today already, and now he's come outside to play basketball with me. In a really totally polite way I tell him that I'm fine on my own, but he won't leave, and so I shoot a few rounds with him and he's pretty good but I won't tell him that. I want him to leave, Eugene, really I do. So I'm taking a 'water break' to write in my diary while he watches me curiously.

Oh great, now he's telling me that he used to have a diary when he was my age and that it's quite funny because my mom stole his and he – wait, he's stopped talking. Weird. It's funny how I still don't know what happened with him and my mom because no one will talk about it! Aunt Tori just said they used to know each other in high school too and they had a fight. Which is like, so what? People fight all the time; you just gotta get over it. Whatever.

Okay, maybe Beck isn't so bad, because he's asking me about what I like to do, and I told him music and then I played him a bit of a song. Then he said I was really good, and would I like to play for him and his cast sometime. And then I realized.

I know, I know, I'm an idiot, really, but he just looks so different offset and anyway I'm just a kid. So I stood there for a few seconds with my mouth down at my knees as I realized that this was the very same Beck Oliver that I'd watched in movies for ages and oh my gosh he liked my mom.

"Oh my gosh, you're Beck Oliver!" I said. Or something like that. It may have been gibberish.

He laughed. Probably he's used to this stuff. "Yes, I am. Jade… your mom says you're a fan. I was wondering when you would realize."

I rolled my eyes. Yes, I'm dumb sometimes, but he doesn't have to point that out! But anyway I was in the presence of my favorite actor like ever and he wanted to play basketball with me, but also he wanted to date my mom, but – The rational side of me won out, and just like that Beck Oliver kind of won me over or whatever. Also I kicked his butt in basketball, but he won't admit it because I'm smaller than him. Ha!

My mom seems pleased that we're getting along, but still she won't tell me who he is. I mean, of course they went to school together – my mom went to school with like, half of LA. Why is this guy any different? What makes him so special? Not that I want him to leave, because he's sort of likable I guess, but seriously, why him? I just want to know; I've always been naturally curious or whatever.

Confused – Zander

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Dear Diary,

Today Beck took me and Stevie out for ice cream. Funny story – he knows Stevie because Stevie's parents are directing his latest movie, so yeah, and he knew Stevie and I were friends, so he rounded us up for a big treat. Probably this was his latest trick to get on my good side (I hadn't informed him yet that I was won over, okay), but I wasn't complaining.

Stevie and I ordered the same thing, which was kinda funny – two scoops of double fudge brownie – and Beck ordered a vanilla ice cream cone. I stared at it. "Ew, vanilla's gross. It's so boring and plain."

"Not if you add chocolate syrup," he said with a wicked smile. And it was true, I realized. I mean, everyone loves hot fudge sundaes.

We sat there and talked for a while, and it turns out Beck's actually really funny, or at least Stevie and I thought so. He entertained us with stories about his high school life and funny stuff from set, though I noticed that he left out any stuff about my mom (which was stupid, really, because I ought to know!). Stevie and I were practically falling out of our seats by the time he rounded us up to leave.

After we dropped Stevie off, though, I asked him, "How do you know my mother?"

He laughed. I didn't know it was funny. Then he said, "It's a long story, kid, and it's not mine to tell. I'll let your mom tell you when you're ready."

"I am ready," I said confidently (because I am, really). "I've been ready for a long time. I'm not a kid anymore; I'm nearly in middle school, all right?"

"Zander," Beck said in that warning vice, the one my mom always uses when I'm 'pushing the boundaries' (which lately is always). "It's not up to me, all right? Ask your mom. Tell her you're ready to hear whenever, but you just want to know the truth." He's right of course; my mom is all about honesty or whatever, which is really a good trait to have.

I'm curious, though, mostly because they don't want to talk about it. It can't possibly have been that bad, right? I mean, maybe they were like, friends or something, and then my mom left, or – I don't know! I'm not good at this, okay?! And no one will even talk about it at all! It's like someone died or something!

Anyway, Beck's really cool. Once he took me back home he played soccer with me for a little bit, and even though he's pretty bad at that too (he says he's an actor, not an athlete, but I'm a singer and I'm not so bad!), it was fun. But I'm still worried about him and my mom. Today he left before she even got there, and I dunno, why does he want to hang out with me? It doesn't make sense; none of this does, but it's not like I'm gonna complain or anything, especially if he takes me out with Stevie and buys me ice cream.

Yeah. I guess that could be nice. He's kinda becoming like… like my dad, I guess. If I had one, if I knew him, if he came back instead of leaving me behind like I never even mattered.

Oh wait, Mom's coming in. She wants to take me to dinner! I can drill her about Beck, and even about my dad too. Though I gotta say I'm kinda wondering… nah, it's impossible!

See you later, alligator. – Zander

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Dear Eugene,

So I found out.

I guess I'm not even sure what to say. Part of me is excited and part of me is confused, really confused, because my dad is back. And guess what? My dad's not a foreign guy, traveling the world or whatever, and he's not a criminal in jail, like I'd kind of thought. He's actually a pretty cool guy. And yeah, yeah, you guessed right – Beck Oliver is my father.

I guess I kinda already knew. I mean, I knew they were hiding something, and a nearly blind person could see the similarities between me and my dad – the dark hair, the shiny eyes, the bright smiles. It's not hard to tell. Maybe that's why I always felt a kinship with him when I was watching his movies.

Anyway, Beck didn't leave my mom. My mom left him, because according to her, she didn't want to ruin his future because he was only just getting successful and that would be a cruel thing to do, and she loved him too much to do that. I'm pretty sure she loves him still, Eugene, but only don't tell her that. And I know he still loves her too, you know, because he found her, and why else would he take the time to do that? He didn't know about me, though I guess he knows now.

It's pretty obvious what I have to do. I've gotta fix them back up because they're my mom and dad. I've just got my parents back. I don't think I can lose them again.

And also it's kinda nice to know that my dad didn't abandon me, that it was my mom who left. I'm not angry at her for taking me. Really, I can't be. She was just looking out for my dad, and look how far he's gotten now! But I am a little disappointed, because I didn't even meet him until now, and gosh, I wish I could know him better. And I'm confused because how come he didn't come look for Mom earlier? She's famous! It can't be hard to find her!

It's just good to have all this sorted out, though. My mom seemed kind of startled when I told her that Dad took me and Stevie out for ice cream, anyway. Maybe she didn't expect my dad to take such an interest in me. But I am his child. It's only natural, right?

And guess what – a pic of me, Stevie, and my dad showed up in a celebrity magazine with the caption Beck Oliver out with the tots – the son of Jade West and daughter of Freddie Benson. Kinda funny, don't you think? Now me and Stevie are famous too!

But when I see Beck – Dad – I don't know what to call him again, I'm going to hug him really tight, because I've missed him for most of my life and now he's back, okay, he's back, and we can be a family again. Just you watch.

I'm thrilled! – Zander

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Dear Eugene,

Stevie is quite pleased. She says that Beck's a very kind guy and that he'll take very good care of me anyway. Jacob seemed to like him too, when he came over this afternoon. I swear my dad hasn't left like, all day today. He played video games with Jacob and I and took Stevie and I to see his latest movie, prompting us to get the celebrity treatment – haha, get it? But the thing is that the press won't get why Beck's suddenly out with Stevie and I all the time. Ah well, I guess that's their problem, not mine.

This is what I've been missing though, Eugene. You know my mother's great; she's wonderful actually, but she's not a guy. She doesn't know about playing sports or action movies (she's all into horror movies, which I find really gross and scary) or any of that boy stuff. And now I've got a dad – a real father, like Jake's dad Andre or Stevie's dad Freddie, and he's a good guy and he's not a jerk and wow, Eugene, wow, this is so great!

But the thing is that I don't know what's happening with him and my mom. Obviously I want them to get back together and get married and all that, but I have no idea how to go about it! In The Parent Trap, all they had to do was plan a romantic date and boom their parents were back together! But it's like my mom and dad are walking on eggshells around each other. It's so annoying.

Maybe Stevie will have a good idea. Auntie Cat might know too; she acts really dumb sometimes but I know she's smart. I want to know what happened between them, like what they used to be like before Mom left, like how they got together and all that, and either Cat or Tori or Andre or Robbie will know. Maybe that will give me an idea. Because I want a family, Eugene. I don't want my mom to be lonely or sad anymore. I want her to be with a nice guy who loves her, and I'm sure that my dad fits that criteria, okay? This isn't a lost cause; I'm sure of it.

Determinedly. – Zander

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Dear Eugene,

Guess what? I talked to Auntie Cat, and she told me. I knew I could count on her. Did you know that my mom and dad dated all through high school, save for a few-month break? How cool is that? She says they were like the It Couple, that everyone knew about them and that all the girls liked my dad! Kinda like me – some girls in my class think I'm really cute, but for now, I'm not all that interested! Maybe once I get older. I'm sure they'll wait.

Anyway, my dad had great hair back then, just like me, and my mom was still scary even back then. She said that they really did love each other – I knew it! – and that everyone could tell. She said they had a really really cute relationship, and that she'd always thought they would get married and have lots of kids. I guess she was almost right, because here I am, fluffy hair and all. But they aren't married and that's the saddest thing, because if life was fair they would be.

They had been best friends in eighth grade and started dating in ninth, or so Auntie Cat says. Jade had left after her senior year of high school, where she went off for a year and had me, and then jumped back into the acting business once I was two. Cat told me that for the first year or so, my mom had been really depressed. Auntie Cat and Auntie Tori had to come over a lot to take care of me, because my mom was seriously lacking in her duties as a mother, and that's when I'd met Jake, Eugene, because Tori used to take the two of us out to play or whatever. (I was always the cutest one, though, just saying!)

It was a cute story with a sad ending, Eugene. I wish I could tell you like Cat did, with all the facial expressions and hand movements. I just wish it didn't have to be so sad. She's my mom, Eugene – I love her, and I don't know what to do.

Cat says that Beck – my dad – had planned to propose after graduation, and that's the saddest part, I think. But their story's not over yet, you know. I can still do this, and Cat says she'd love to help because my parents were the cutest couple ever in high school! And how cool, honestly, would it be for me to be the ring bearer in my own parents' wedding? Hey, hey, just some wishful thinking, okay?

I guess I'm just thinking. When you've never had a family, even the idea of one seems pretty good, and gosh do I want this one. We never even got a chance, and I know we could make it. I know it – just like I know that there's dirt and grass and sky and sun.

I'm just gonna go now and watch some Nickelodeon on television. Write later.

Much love – Zander

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Dear Eugene,

Today I called a meeting of everyone that's in on my plan, aka Auntie Cat, Stevie, and Jake. Auntie Cat showed us their old Slap pages – kind of like Facebook, but only for Hollywood Arts – and we actually got to watch the videos of when they were younger. They were really cute, but it was kinda gross to see my parents kissing. Even if it was before I was born and everything. Just the whole idea of it, I guess.

But the thing is that they used to fight like, a lot, and that kind of scares me. Of course I still want them to be together, but I just don't know how I can stop them from fighting if I get them to sit down together! Unfortunately I'm not a genius like my mom. It's not fair!

Anyway, they really did love each other during high school. Cat was right about that much. They always seemed to be touching or kissing (gross) or holding hands in all the videos we watched and pictures we saw. So that gave me an idea. We could like, recreate their high school days! I mean, we've got all of my parents' best friends – Cat and Tori and Robbie and Andre – and the school's still standing there, as glorious as ever. It's a good idea, right? If they go back to high school, then they'll remember why they loved each other! It's the principle of the matter, all right?

Anyway, Cat says that she knows how to get us into the school and even the exact table where they used to sit at lunch! How cool is that? Even Stevie and Jake agree that it's a good idea. This plan has to be perfect, then!

I've decided that I will play them a song as they eat out in the courtyard (I think that's what it's called) at their old lunch table and they can have like, a romantic dinner, even if the school isn't very romantic! (Like I said, it's the principle of the matter, okay? And not the principal, either!)

Then they've got to fall in love again, okay, Eugene? They've just got to! We came up with this great plan and honestly if they don't we're all just going to die, okay, just die. (Well, mostly me. I suppose the others will survive, but only barely.)

We've got it set for tomorrow night, and before then I've got loads of preparations to get done, so I'm gonna have to take a break from writing till after then. Wish me luck, Eugene! Hopefully Operation Get My Parents Back Together will work. (That's a dumb name and really long. Note to self: ask Cat for possible operation names. She seems really good at that.)

Well, I'll write about it later!

Hopefully – Zander

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Dear Eugene,

It didn't work. Really I'm not sure what we were expecting, but at the beginning it did seem to be going according to plan! They sat together and talked and smiled and we sat in the shadows and watched like creepers. It was really quite adorable; let me tell you.

You know, come to think about it, that's probably what they were like in high school when they were dating. I wonder why the scenery didn't trigger any memories – if you know what I mean. Anyway.

So at the beginning, it all seemed fine and they both seemed happy. Cat, Stevie, Jake, and I were positively squealing with joy. Then Stevie handed me my ukulele and I began to play a romantic tune that probably, in hindsight, wasn't all that romantic but you know. I did try. It's not my fault that I never learned any romantic tunes! I'm a young boy! Why would I waste time on all that kissy-kissy stuff? Ew!

Anyway, I started to play some song that I learned ages ago and my parents both laughed like I was doing something funny. It was the most romantic song I knew, okay? And then I kept playing, ignoring them, and they started whispering like they knew there was something going on – which there wasn't, really! Just a plot to set them up was all! They were both laughing and I thought it was a success –

Until they both stood up and walked off, taking their plates with them.

"Wait," I called cause I was really confused, okay. "Where are you going? What happened?"

"I have to hit the road, kiddo," my dad said with a pat on my head. "Got to be up early for filming tomorrow. But this was a nice dinner – thanks, and tell Stevie, Jake, and Cat I said thanks, too."

"And he calls me a workaholic," my mom quipped with a raise of her eyebrow (she always does that and it's really weird).

"I didn't say that," my dad said defensively. "You just always read too much into things, you know? Breathe a little, take a chill pill."

"What, so I can be completely apathetic like you?" was my mom's angry response. "Right, because I'd want to have no emotions and not care about my girlfriend or my child, not even enough to come looking for them when she left!"

"You left me!" was my dad's response. And it's true, she did, but still, I don't blame her.

"Because I thought you'd come after me." My mom sounded really sad. It's not like I haven't seen her sad before, of course, since I've lived with her practically my whole life, but not sad like this. Her voice was just so choked-up that it almost made me want to cry too! I felt so bad. Was I really doing the right thing here?

"Jade…" My dad didn't finish his sentence, because my mom cut him off again. (She does that a lot, I think.)

"I didn't want to ruin your life, Beck, but obviously you don't care so much about mine. But whatever, what's done is done, and I'm done. Come on, Z, we've got to go."

I didn't want to leave, trust me. I had hoped my plan would go a little bit better than that. But I had to, cause she was my only ride home (I guess Cat could've taken me when she took Stevie and Jake but I didn't want my mom to be alone either). So I waved goodbye to my team and followed my mom out.

Once she got home she cried and I felt really bad. I think she's asleep now, though. I wish my parents were normal sometimes, you know. I wish they'd have gotten married and then had me and lived happily ever after. But I guess we can't always get what we want, yeah?

Whatever. Hopefully tomorrow goes better.

Feeling really guilty. – Zander

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Dear Eugene,

You'll never guess what happened, so I guess I'll just have to tell you!

So today Beck was filming so my mom and I didn't really expect him to come over. But he did, Eugene, he did! It was at like 6:00, and Beck hadn't even finished filming yet – I know because he told us, he said he left filming early because he just couldn't do it knowing my mom was mad at him. That's so romantic, only don't tell anyone I said that because it's not really very manly at all.

Anyway, my mom gave me that look that means that I should go up to my room so they could be alone, so I did what she said because I'm a good kid (though I did go sort of slowly because seriously it's kind of rude to kick me out when this was all my plan in the first place, even though really it wasn't but don't tell them that). So for the next like, half an hour, I stayed up in my room and heard the mumbling from downstairs, though I really couldn't make out anything they were saying. Being a kid really sucks sometimes.

Then there was silence, though, and once it went for more than a minute, I figured Beck had left (which made me sad!) and I crept down to the top of the stairs. But Beck definitely hadn't left – oh, no, my father was still here! They were just standing in my living room (well me and my mom's but you know) kissing! And it was deep kissing too, not just a peck. Deeper kissing than I'd ever seen, actually, even counting when Cat and Robbie got married! So I gasped and headed back up the stairs, hoping they hadn't seen me. This had to mean they were back together, right?

But they were kissing, Eugene! My parents are in love again and I just know it. I mean, I don't know what was said or anything, but I do know what a kiss means, even if I hadn't had my first kiss yet. It's just common sense, Eugene!

I'm hoping for the best. Oh, wait, there are footsteps coming up the stairs. Be right back!

Hopefully! – Zander

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Dear Eugene,

My parents are back together, and that's all that really matters. They kind of are angry at me for 'interfering', but I really don't care, because I saw the way that Beck looked at my mom and – wow, it's really sweet. It's really funny how just a few days ago I'd been wishing for my dad, and now here he is, right in front of me, good-looking and funny and nice, a guy that actually cares about my mom. And my mom – she seems really happy, and I'm really glad. If he makes my mom happy, I'm definitely not going to object.

Anyway, they took me out to dinner tonight, and it was our first meal as a family. We went to this buffet place, and they both scolded me in unison for getting too much food (when according to me, you can never have enough food) then looked at each other with these grins on their faces. Yeah, Eugene, I think I could definitely get used to this.

My dad told funny stories about filming (well, the portion of it he'd actually been to) and about all the weird people he'd met during his acting career. Like I said, my dad's actually really funny. And my mom pitched in with jokes about actors and sarcastic comments, the same as ever. Some things just never change.

But some things do, and that's really good, Eugene, because now I've got a family, an actual family with a mom and a dad and a me, a Zander. After we left, I spotted one of those vending machines and I begged my dad for a quarter. He gave me one, but as I ran off to the vending machine my mom started lecturing him about how wasteful those vending machines are and how the odds are like, one in a million that I could actually win, but then he patted her on the shoulder and held her hand and said "He's just a kid, Jade, and he'll only be a kid once." And I knew what that meant, that he'd missed most of my childhood so he was gonna try to make the best of it now. Not that I was complaining or anything. If it meant that he was around more often, well – who was I to complain? (And I also wanted more vending machine prizes. I showed my mom up too, because I got a nice chocolate bar. I split it with my mom and dad even though my mom had doubted me!)

I think this new family could be really great, Eugene, and my friends (and their friends) are really happy. Auntie Cat even cried when she found out – she's so dramatic sometimes, but it's really funny! I'm just glad everything's falling into place. Like they always say – two parents are better than one!

Happily yours. – Zander.

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Dear Eugene,

Today I eavesdropped on my parents. Okay, okay, I know, it's wrong and a total invasion of privacy. Stevie already told me when I snuck onto the home phone and called her and told her about it. But I couldn't resist and they thought I was in the bed!

"Jade," my dad said in a quiet type of voice. "I love you." Okay, that was sort of cheesy, but really that's what he said.

"Yeah, yeah," was my mom's response. (Thank goodness she wasn't cheesy too or I might have thrown up.) "Is the part where you reveal that you already have a wife?"

"No, stupid." My dad laughed. "It's just that… I don't know. I'm scared. I'm scared that I'll screw this up and you'll hate me and Zander will hate me too, and I can't do that Jade, really I can't…"

My mom cut him off. (See, I told you she likes to do that!) "I know your parents messed up, Beck, but that doesn't mean you're going to as well. Have a little confidence, will you? Zander really likes you, I know, and he really does want you to be his father. He's been wanting a father for ages. He thinks I don't know, but I do." (I almost shivered cause it was like she knew I was there.) "I've tried my best, but I can't be a father and a mother, and I think now that you're here…"

"I can try, Jade." He was smiling, which I took to be a good sign. "I can try for you and for Zander. I'm glad I came back."

"Yeah, yeah, me too," my mom said, and I'm pretty sure she was smiling too. "He has your color hair, Beck, and your eyes."

"Yeah, but he's got your smile," my dad pointed out with a grin. "And his conniving nature – well, that's all you, babe."

She laughed, and I thought it was kind of like they were young parents again, cooing over their little baby. And now here I am, Eugene, totally satisfied and finally with two parents like a normal kid.

But normal's boring, anyway.

Tomorrow, just watch – there will be an article in a magazine. "Beck Oliver and Jade West back together! What does that mean for Jade's child?" Hmph. Stalkers.

Much love. – Zander.

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A/N: Future Zander is life. Anyway, this was written for the Bade Prompts 'Something New' Challenge. I love future!Zander but I decided to put a new twist on it this time, with Zander having never met Beck and then Beck comes into his life and all. I picture him being around 9-11 years old, so I tried to write like he would, but I'll admit it was still a bit sophisticated. Oh well. I hope you enjoyed it anyway! It was quite fluffy and considering the canon of How to Rock, probably fairly AU, but I even added in a bit of Zevie (not much, but a bit). Please read and review if you liked it (or even if you didn't).