1:17 All of Me

02-11-18_2-22-48 PM

Izaiah couldn’t help but remember that disastrous date at the Stargazer Lounge he had a couple years earlier. His brother had set him up on that one.

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She had been a nice girl, but the date had not gone well. He was really hoping that things went much better this time. Especially since he had something big planned for Callie.

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They sat and chatted for a bit. He knew she wasn’t able to drink any of the alcohol so he tried to hold off also. He didn’t want her to feel left out.

They sat talking and cuddling from time to time. It was turning out to be a perfect evening. So far at least.

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When she excused herself to use the lady’s room, he got himself a drink to calm his nerves. The rest of the night could go great, or it could turn out terrible. It would only take one word to turn it either way.

He finished the drink as he saw her walking back. He smiled and walked over to her.

“Is it hot in here or is it just me?” He pulled his shirt off. He knew it was just nerves, but it was pretty bad.

“Are you okay? Do you want to go home and lay down? I hope you aren’t coming down with the flu or something.”

Callie started for the elevator so they could go home. Once she realized that he wasn’t with her, she turned around to find him.

They couldn’t wait to get home and celebrate.

 

1:16 Bring Him Home

02-11-18_1-57-38 PM

Izaiah often saw Callie looking at the picture of him and Colleen. He had moved it out of the bedroom and into his home office so Callie wouldn’t have to sleep under the picture. He did have to admit that it was odd making love to Callie with Colleen’s picture hanging overhead. It was a big part of why he moved it to another room.

Callie knew about Colleen. Izaiah had told her everything. From the day he met Colleen, to the day she was put to death, Callie knew it all. She understood why Izaiah kept the picture, but it was really hard to try to live up to the woman that Izaiah first loved. Some days she felt that Izaiah still loved Colleen and there would be no room for her in his heart.

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She knew that he still kept Colleen’s phone charged and often looked at the pictures on it. He had told her once that he was keeping the pictures for Zaiden. He wanted the boy to have pictures of his mom. She kept quiet even though she knew that his chances of finding the boy were pretty slim. After the last time she mentioned it to him, she had learned. Zaiden was the one topic that it was best she kept quiet about.

Callie had seen the pictures a few times. She had to admit that Colleen sure was a beautiful young woman. She made Callie feel plain in comparison. Izaiah usually cheered her up afterwards by telling her that she was beautiful also. It was hard for her to believe at the moment when she felt like a beached whale thanks to the growing baby inside her.

She did really like the pictures of Izaiah that were on the phone. He looked young and happy in those pictures. Maybe someday he would be that happy again.

Callie went to find Izaiah. She knew he was in the apartment somewhere.

02-11-18_2-00-02 PM

She found him at the bar with one empty glass, and a second full one. She could see by the look on his face and the tears in his eyes that something had him upset. She took his hand and led him to the nearby sofa.

02-11-18_2-03-25 PM

“What’s wrong, Izaiah?”

“I just had a call from Pace. They found Zaiden.”

Callie was happy for him, but worried for her own reasons. “I am happy for you. I know how much you want him back home.” She gave him a big hug. “He will be back with you where he belongs now.”

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He moved closer to her and smiled as he looked at her. “Thank you for being so supportive of me finding him. I know it has not been easy for you.”

“I understand why you want him with you, Izaiah. I also know that it is what you need to make you happy. I want you to be happy.”

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He kissed her tenderly. “Go get yourself ready. We’ll go out to Stargazer Lounge tonight to celebrate.”

1:15 Bells of New York City

Izaiah watched Callie walk around the apartment. They had been arguing and he was more than done with it. She had fully supported his search for Zaiden until she found out that she was pregnant. Now she expected him to drop everything and marry her. He had never once led her to believe that marriage was in their future. An accidental pregnancy was not going to change that.

02-08-18_12-30-45 PM

He looked at the clock and saw that it was later than he realized. He got up from the table and put his plate in the sink.

“Are you going out again?”

“No, Callie. I told you the guys are coming over. They have some new information about Zaiden.”

She sighed and followed him to the bedroom.

“I thought we agreed to stop looking for him.”

He turned and looked at her. “No. You decided that we should stop. I told you that I would never stop until I have found him.”

“If you find him, where is he going to sleep? We turned the extra room into the nursery.”

He looked her in the eye so she could see how serious he was about what he was about to say.

“Listen up because this is the last time I am going to say this. Zaiden is going to be found. Zaiden is going to come home where he belongs. Zaiden will sleep in whatever damn room I want him to sleep in. One more word about this from you, and you will be finding yourself right where you were when I met you. On the street with nowhere to go.”

He wouldn’t do that to her. Especially while she was knocked up with his kid. He just wanted her to realize how serious he was about finding Zaiden.

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He went out into the hall to wait for the guys by the elevator. He needed away from Callie for a bit. 

He smiled when he saw four of the guys show up. They really were great friends.

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“Tony would be here but he got stuck at work.”

Izaiah was just happy the rest of the guys were there. He understood about work. 

“Let’s go inside where we can talk.

The guys went to the office that Izaiah had set up off the bedroom. It had been a spare room with work out equipment at one time. When they remodeled the nursery, they also did the bathroom, their bedroom, and the office. It let Callie feel a bit more like she belonged there. Like it was also her home and that she was not just a guest.

02-08-18_8-20-22 PM

“We found some interesting things about the boy.”

Izaiah sat at the desk. He looked at the two journals of Colleen’s that he had found in one of the boxes he finally unpacked. He had hoped there would be clues in one of them to where the boy was, but there wasn’t.

“Tony was able to use his contacts to find out who had the boy.”

“You said had?”

Pace, who had been silent up to this point, looked at his friend. “Your father gave the boy to the judge and her husband as payment for a guilty verdict for your wife and for her sentence.”

02-08-18_8-42-25 PM

Izaiah got up from the desk and walked over to the window. Finding out that his father paid for Colleen to be killed made him angry. The fact that it was Colleen’s baby that was used as payment just made it even worse.

“Where is he now?”

“We don’t know. We are still looking for him.”

He looked out the window and over the sleeping city.

“I’ll find you, Zaiden. I won’t stop until I have you back home where you belong.”

1:14 Children Will Listen

02-07-18_1-52-28 AM

After Tabitha and Dennis were arrested, Zaiden and the two babies were taken away. Since there was a shortage of foster homes, the three boys were taken to the local children’s home to wait until there was an opening in the foster system or someone adopted them.

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Even though he was only two years old, Zaiden knew that he had to take care of his little brothers, Tyrone and Nicholas. He was the big brother and their Mommy and Daddy would want him to take care of them until they got back and could take them home.

The problem was, every time Zaiden got close to his brothers, that lady would yell at him.

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He didn’t like that lady. She was always yelling at him. If he played with the other little girl his age, they got yelled out for playing too loud because it would wake the babies.

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If he didn’t eat all of the terrible food she gave them, he got yelled at for wasting food.

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If he was in the room when the older kids were doing their homework, he got yelled at for being a distraction.

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She yelled at him a lot. It made him miss his Mommy and Daddy even more. They yelled but not as much as she did.

He couldn’t wait until him and his brothers were able to go back home. He hoped it was soon.

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The only good thing at the children’s home was a girl named Kimber. She liked to give him hugs and play with him when she wasn’t doing her homework or her chores. He hoped that his mommy and daddy would take her home too when they came back.

1:13 Helpless Heart

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Izaiah reread the article. He still couldn’t believe they had arrested his father. He looked at the list of names and knew exactly what had happened. They had all set up Colleen.

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She had told him that she had no choice and now he knew why. He hadn’t wanted to believe her that day though.

Colleen’s own parents were arrested also. He knew that her childhood had been a bad one, but he had never expected this. Her parents were the one thing that she would never talk to him about. Now he wished he would have forced her to talk to him about it. Maybe he could have protected her. Maybe she would still be alive.

He looked at the article beside it and could not stop himself from getting angry.

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Her own father had let her die for a murder he had committed. It was probably a good thing they were all setting in jail cells. He was mad enough to kill them all himself. They had destroyed his life and all he had dreamed of. They had killed an innocent woman. He really hoped they could find a judge that was not involved in this mess and that all of them paid in the same manner that his poor Colleen had. Including his father. Especially his father.

He threw the newspaper across the room. He heard the knock  on his bedroom door. He knew it was Callie just checking on him. “I’m fine, Callie. I just need some time alone.”

He heard her mumble something about going out for awhile and texting her if he needed anything and she would come straight home. He really did feel bad at the moment. She had turned into a really good friend. A friend with amazing benefits.02-05-18_11-16-47 PM

He logged onto the computer to send an email to his brother, but the first thing he saw was more news reports about the bust and about Colleen. He turned off the computer. He would wait until his brother was home and just talk to him face to face.

02-05-18_11-18-10 PM

He walked over to the bed and came face to face with the only picture he had of him and Colleen. It was a blurry picture that she had taken when he got her a new phone. It was while they were still on their honeymoon.

He needed out of that room for a bit. Since Callie had gone out, he had the entire apartment to himself.

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He sat down at the piano and started to play the first song that came to his mind. It was one of Colleen’s favorites, but it fit his mood at the moment also. It made him think of his wife and the good times they had together. It also made him think of the end and losing her.

I’m sitting here inside this stranger’s place and time is racing by
I’ve been way out here for a month or more tonight I’m wonderin’ why

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You try to understand the things that I feel
Maybe this time I’ll find away to explain it

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‘Cause there is a dream deep inside my head
And it may seem like it’s breaking the thread that holds me to you
Still you have never wanted to change me

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But darling I know though we’re far apart the signal is strong
This helpless heart will always belong to you, to you

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This power takes me from the place I belong
To where only the strong get through

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You’ve got to keep on believing or you’ll lose your way
‘Cause it slips right out of view
Though there are days the light can flicker and fade
Here in this place tonight a fire is burning

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‘Cause there is a dream deep inside my head
And it may seem like it’s breaking the thread that holds me to you

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Still you have never wanted to change me
But believe me I know though we’re far apart the signal is strong
This helpless heart will always belong to you

01-16-18_1-52-16 AM

This helpless heart will always belong to you
Will always belong to you, to you, only to you, to you

01-20-18_4-43-32 PM

He abruptly stopped playing piano. That last image that had flashed through his head had been unexpected.

“I have to find him.” He knew that the boy may not be his, but he was Colleen’s and that was enough for him to love the boy. “I will find him.”

1:12 Can’t Help Falling in Love

POV Izaiah

02-04-18_10-29-52 PM

Callie Becerra

As sweet as she is beautiful.

We met at the gym after I had yet another bad day set up by my brother, Collin. I was not looking for anybody.

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Then this beautiful creature hopped onto the treadmill next to mine. I must admit that I did stumble a time or two because I was watching her and not concentrating on what I was doing.

We spent hours on the treadmill talking. It felt like I had known her forever. It felt like I wanted to know her much better.

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Once they started locking the doors to the gym and kicked us both out for the night, we headed to my place. It would give us more time to talk.

I found out that her boyfriend had recently dumped her and she had nowhere to live. I told her that I had a spare room and had been considering finding a roommate. She was welcome to the room if she wanted it.


POV Nobody

02-05-18_10-35-03 AM

In the few months since Callie had moved in, her and Izaiah got to know each other better. She had learned that Izaiah was really good on the piano. He learned that she really loved to bake.

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When she found out that Izaiah’s 21st birthday was coming up, she invited a couple friends over to taste test cakes. He had done so much for her by giving her a place to live, that she wanted to return the favor with a surprise birthday party and an amazing cake.

She had fun planning his party. The only problem she had run into was the guest list. She didn’t know many of Izaiah’s friends.

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She did know that his family lived across the hall though. She had met them a few times. She heard someone in the hall outside the apartment and was happy to see that it was Izaiah’s sister in law, Shawna.

“Hello, Mrs. Maynard. I am happy to run into you today.”

“Hello, Callie.” She looked over the young girl’s track clothes and knew she would never be caught dead in something like that. “What can I do for you.”

“I know that Izaiah’s birthday is in a few days. I wanted to invite you and the rest of the family to his surprise party.”

“I have a prior commitment, but I will pass the invitation to the rest of the family. Please, in the future, try to give more notice than just a few days. Some people lead busy social lives.”

Callie watched as she rushed into her own apartment.


The night of the party had arrived.

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Izaiah sure was surprised when he got home from work. Not only had Callie baked him a cake and planned a party, she also made his favorite meal. Another big surprise was his brother and his father being at the party.

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Once the guests had left, Izaiah helped Callie clean up. He followed her to the hallway when she took the garbage to the chute.

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“I want to thank you for tonight. It really was fun and it meant a lot to me.”

He pulled her in for a big hug to thank her.

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“You are very welcome. It was the least that I could do for all that you have done for me. I do have a gift for you. It is not much, but I did want to give you something.”

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He was very surprised then laughed.

“I’ve never had a girl give me a rose before. Now I see why girls like to get flowers.”

He took her hands in his and smiled at her.

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“I am glad that I went to the gym that night that I met you. Having you here has been wonderful.”

Before he knew what he was doing or could stop himself, he leaned toward her.

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He quickly pulled back and looked at her.

“I’m sorry. It’s probably too…”

Before he was able to finish the sentence she pulled him close again.

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Once she pulled back, she took his hand in hers and pulled him toward the apartment.

“Do not say a word. Just follow.”

He knew at that point that he would follow her anywhere. Especially once he realized where he was following her to.

02-05-18_11-38-48 AM

1:11 Back to Life

02-04-18_2-28-12 PM

“It’s been a year, Izaiah. It’s time to move on.”

Izaiah was listening to his brother go on and on about how Izaiah needed to find himself another woman and settle down again. Collin didn’t understand though. He has a loving and faithful wife and four kids. He doesn’t understand what Izaiah had to go through.

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Izaiah got up to make himself a drink. It was easier to ignore his brother when he was occupied with something else.

“Izaiah, there are a few girls I’d like you to meet. Just meet them. That’s all I ask.”

“You are not going to shut up about this until I do, are you?”

“Not a chance in hell.”

“Okay. I will meet them. Only meet them.”

“Good. I’ll call Aspen and set it up for you.”

Izaiah watched his brother leave and sighed.

02-04-18_2-30-35 PM

“I know I’m going to regret this.


He was right. He was going to really regret this and he was going to make his brother pay dearly.

When he got home from work, he found the young woman standing at his door. She was dressed in a t-shirt and a pair of ripped up overalls. At first he thought she had the wrong apartment. He was willing to help her find where she was going, but she said she was Aspen and was sent there by his brother. Apparently Collin really did not know much about Izaiah’s taste in women if this is who he sent.

Izaiah was going to be polite and invited her inside. He could offer her a drink then send her on her way. Aspen had other ideas though.

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She went straight to his kitchen and helped herself to the contents of the fridge. If that was not bad enough, she only made enough for one person, and she ate it all herself.

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He let her eat, since she apparently was hungry. He assumed from her dress and the rude way she helped herself to his food that she could be homeless or something. He was actually surprised to find out that she lived in Windenburg.

He tried to be polite and give her a reasonable chance despite everything, but when she started talking about other people in a very rude manner, he knew that it was time for her to go. He escorted her to the elevator and even hit the down button for her. Once those doors closed behind her, he was able to admit how happy he was to see her leave.


When Collin told him that he had set up a second date for him, Izaiah was even more unsure than he had been before. At least this time they wouldn’t be meeting at the apartment. They would be meeting at the Sky Lounge instead.

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Jolene was a step up from Aspen. He did have to admit that she was beautiful. It all went downhill after that.

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He bought her a drink and hoped they could talk and get to know each other. Unfortunately she seemed to want to complain about the quality of the wine as well as the decor of the lounge.

If that was not bad enough…

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When he excused himself to use the restroom, she called a friend to pick her up.

Izaiah went home and knocked on his brother’s apartment door. He told him that he did not want to be set up again. The women were just not his type, and he would find someone on his own.

He went across the hall to his own apartment and got his work out bag to head for the gym. That was where he met HER…

1:10 Childhood

02-04-18_9-48-53 AM

When Tabitha and Dennis Dickens adopted Zaiden, they thought they would finally have the baby that would make Tabitha happy. They had hoped that the baby would like like his mother so they could pass the baby off as Dennis’s kid. Unfortunately, things did not go as they had hoped.

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They noticed that the kid was growing blonde hair instead of the dark brown his mother had.

“I thought you told me that her husband had dark hair also.”

Tabitha sighed as they went over it yet again. “He does. But she was a whore, Dennis. That kid could have anybody for a father.”

“Obviously the father is a blonde. How are we going to pass him off as our own?”

“I don’t know. Maybe we can dye his hair or something.” She gave him a small smile. “Or we can give him back.”

“I don’t even like kids, but even I know that you can’t just give them back. And you made a deal with that man. You can’t go back on that now.”

Tabitha thought about what she had to do to get this boy and sighed. “I know. I just thought he would have dark hair to make it easier to pass him off as your kid.” She put her hand on her stomach. “At least we know these two will look like us.”

Dennis rolled his eyes. “I agreed to let you adopt that boy so you would get off me about having a kid. I didn’t agree to you getting knocked up with two more.”

That hurt. Tabitha could feel the angry tears welling up in her eyes. “You should have thought about that before you decided to take the risk and not use the condom. This is just as much on you as it is on me.” By this point, she was yelling at his back as he walked away from her.

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Tabitha sat down on the sofa beside Zaiden. “You really know how to fuck things up for me, don’t you? Why couldn’t you look like your damn mother instead of whatever sperm donor she was fucking when you were conceived?”

Zaiden had no clue what she was talking about but could tell she was upset. He offered her some of his grilled cheese hoping it would make her happy again.

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It did get a little bit of a smile out of her.

“You are a sweet boy. I just wish…” She shook her head and sighed.

02-04-18_10-59-31 AM

Zaiden took his plate to the kitchen like a good boy then went back to set beside Tabitha. She had watched him the entire time thinking that it was a shame that he wasn’t her biological child. He was a good boy and so smart.

02-04-18_10-58-02 AM

Zaiden looked at the two on the couch and decided to tell them a story before they started to fight again. He didn’t like when they would fight. They got so loud and it made him scared.

He babbled about a big monster that lived on top of a really big mountain and would eat any airplanes that flew over his mountain. He told them about the brave boy who climbed the mountain to ask the monster to stop eating the airplanes.

02-04-18_10-58-38 AM

“That’s the stupidest story I’ve ever heard. You can’t even understand most of the words he says.”

“Dennis. He’s still just a baby. Do you have to be so mean to him?”

“My father did not put up with baby talk, and neither will I. I don’t want to hear anything out of him until he learns to talk like a normal human being.”

“And how do you expect him to learn if he can’t practice talking?”

“That is not my problem. It is his. Not one word, Tabitha. I mean it.”

Tabitha sighed and looked over at Zaiden. “Go out in the yard and play until bedtime, Zaiden.”

He knew it was they could fight some more. He didn’t know what the fight was, but he knew it had something to do with him. It always had to do with him.

02-04-18_10-24-55 AM

Zaiden saw his dog friend in the yard and smiled. Rusty was his only friend. At least that is how it feels most days. Rusty belonged to his neighbor but always came over to play with him. He loved it when Rusty was in the yard playing. He hoped his mom and dad would let him have a dog some day. He wanted one like Rusty.

They played together until Rusty’s owner called for him to return home. He gave Rusty a hug and watched him run off through the yard. He knew it was time for him to go back inside too.

02-04-18_11-00-07 AM

He could hear them still fighting. They were upstairs in their bedroom now. He knew they would probably fight for a long time, so he put himself to bed. At least if is asleep, he wouldn’t hear them fighting.