I woke up, still facing the picture of Jimmy and I. I studied it for a moment before getting up and opening the door, and stepped out into the hall. I padded downstairs and into the kitchen where the guys were drinking coffee and laughing lightly about something. I noticed that Zacky was silent, he looked a little spaced out. I shrugged it off, he was probably just tired. They all stopped laughing, and looked at me. There was an awkward, tense silence before I said,

"Brian, we need to talk."

"Ok." He said hesitantly, and we went downstairs into the lounge. "If this is about last night then--"

"It's not about last night and what you said. Johnny told me something, something that he said I could only ask you about." I cut him off, speaking quickly.

"And.... what could that possibly be?" He asked casually, flopping onto the couch. I sat down next to him.

"Well, we were talking, and I told him that it seemed like you acted obligated to look after me, but there were three other guys you could take turns with. He said that there was a story to that, but I would have to talk to you about it. He wouldn't tell me much more than that." I explained, and he seemed to mull this over before nodding slowly.

"I knew that there might come a day when one of us would have to tell you." He said, as if it were no big deal.

"Wait, 'us'?"

"Yeah, as in, Jimmy and I. We made a promise to each other when we were teenagers, and that promise was that if one of us got married, had a family, and something should happen, that the other would take care of them. He made me re-promise the day he proposed to you." He explained.

"Oh, so that's why you've been so protective then." I said quietly, staring at the floor.

"I couldn't break my promise to Jimmy." He said just as quietly, staring at the wall ahead of him.

"So if it had been the other way around, and Jimmy were still here, and you were married or engaged, he would do the same for your wife or fiancee?" I looked at him, and he nodded.

"And if I had kids, then he would make sure they were looked after. Just like if you had kids, I would look after them, and make sure they got to school on time, had money for lunch, were in bed on time, all that stuff."

I couldn't help but smile just a little. It was sort of comforting, in a weird way, that Jimmy had made sure someone would be there to take care of me if something should happen. Well, I guess this was that 'something'.

"I'm sorry I yelled at you the other night." I told him, and he looked over at me.

"It's ok." He said softly.

"Did you.... cry last night? I won't think any less of you if you did." I added the last part on quickly, but it was the truth. He deserved to be able to cry if he wanted to. He nodded slowly.

"It was something that I couldn't stop. I lost my best friend, Em. You don't know how much I would do just to get him back." His voice cracked, and I hugged him tightly.

"Bri, you seem to forget that I lost my soon to be husband, so I think I know how you feel." I told him, and I felt his chest rise and fall in sync with a chuckle.

"So, we're cool then?" He asked after I pulled away. I nodded, and then we got up to leave and join the guys.

"Wait, there's something else I need to ask you." I said before letting him walk up the steps.


"Is Zacky ok? He seems... distant or something."

Brian shrugged. "I don't know, but I noticed that too. He doesn't say much. He might just be trying to cope, so we leave him alone." I nodded and then allowed him to go upstairs. I followed him up, walking back into the kitchen and Matt set some coffee in front of me, followed by a plate of bacon and pancakes. Zacky barely touched his food, and he was starting to worry me. It was extremely rare for him not to tear into his bacon and steal everyone else's bacon. He took small sips of coffee, not making eye contact with anyone, just staring at the table top. So when he got up and walked down into the lounge I finished my breakfast and excused myself, following him. Maybe I should do what Brian and the guys are doing, and leave him alone, but he was really making me worried.

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