Runaway Run by Nikki

Challenger: Brittney
Rating(s) of the fic you want: any
Which brother: Zac
Three things you want your fic to include:

  • an unexpected kiss
  • an argument about someone’s behavior
  • “Why don’t you just tell me how you really feel instead of playing all these childish games? We’re not kids anymore, Zac!”

Three things you do not want your fic to include:

  • Slash
  • Hancest
  • Too much mush

Walking up to the doorway of the house that she knew so well when she was a younger woman, Kelli couldn’t help but smile. It had been years since she’d seen the house that she pretty much grew up in, but somehow nothing had changed. It felt as though time had frozen and she was walking back up the walk to see her boyfriend, Zac…she almost expected him to run out the door any second, excited to see her. Her mind felt frozen, as if it was in a trance, a sort of dream-like world as she looked down and saw the peonies that Diana had, no doubt, just planted earlier in the week, to celebrate the beautiful spring weather they’d been having.

Kelli was suddenly jerked harshly back to reality when the little girl beside her jerked her hand gently and looked up at her with big brown eyes.

“Mommy, where are we?” The little girl asked innocently. She looked down at her slightly troubled face, pouting the exact same way her father had, though she didn’t know it. It still pained Kelli to see it. She knew the look so well. She looked so much like her father. It was undeniable that she took after him in almost every way possible.

“You’ll see, Lexi.” She smiled and brushed back some of the unruly blonde curls framing her face, taking a deep breath and walking up to the door. Alexis took her hand tightly and hid behind her leg, and Kelli took comfort in the clinging just as much as the young girl did. She felt her heart stop as she heard rustling around inside the house and bit her lip as the door slowly swung open, Diana standing in the doorway.

“Kelli!!!” The older woman’s jaw dropped in shock. Kelli smiled nervously and kind of weakly, relieved when she rushed forward and hugged her tightly. She wrapped her arms around the woman who had grown to be her second mother when she was younger…before she had left, and smiled softly.

“Hi, momma.” She whispered, and then looked up when she noticed Diana looking down at the little girl at her knees. “Um…is…is Zac home?”

She looked up at her nervously, afraid that she knew what was going on. Ever since she’d left, she’d been so paranoid of anyone ever finding out what happened to her. Now that she had the strength to come back, she knew she needed to find the courage to give Zac a chance to meet his daughter, no matter how hard it was for both of them.

“Yeah, he is…come on in sweetie.” Diana smiled, stepping aside and not saying anything, or searching for an explanation regarding the little girl who was looking at her curiously. “I’ll go get him, you can go in the den. He’ll be down in a second.”

Kelli nodded rather numbly and took Lexi’s hand, heading down the stairs slowly, helping the two-year-old walk the stairs carefully. As she sat down on the couch and pulled the little girl into her lap, she buried her face in Lexi’s neck and took a deep breath, trying to remind herself why she was there.

Her mind flashed back to the day that changed everything. She had been so naive and selfish back then. Holding the pregnancy test in her trembling hands and seeing the positive reading, she had been more terrified than she’d ever been. Her father, the mayor of the town they grew up in and her mother, the head nurse at the hospital would be furious. They were among the best citizens of their rather small town, and she knew they would be so ashamed. She was ashamed. She couldn’t go back to school in maternity clothes. She felt terrible now for ever thinking it, but she had felt as though she was better than those girls, the ones who got pregnant, the teen mothers. The ones who were irresponsible and were proud of being promiscuous. The one time that her and Zac ever had sex, the only time, she found herself pregnant. She didn’t want to believe it, for a few days she walked around in a daze, she didn’t remember anything. When people started questioning her, she looked inside herself for the courage to tell them and found herself devoid of any strength at all. Later she realized that it was because she was just too selfish and stubborn to tell them, but in her emotional high school mind, the only way out was to run. Just to get out and forget everyone who had ever meant anything to her.

The last two years had gone by so slowly for her, she was in and out of homeless shelters, using countless aliases for her and Lexi. The only things that she owned were things that would fit in her coat, which she had been given from a church charity program. When she finally came back, her parents were so stunned by seeing her again, convinced she was never coming home again, and equally, if not more shocked to meet their granddaughter. They had taken to her quickly though, and Lexi to them. Reassured by her parents that Kelli had to tell them, she found herself now, sitting on the same couch that the little girl in her arms was conceived on, waiting to tell her father that he had a baby that he never even knew existed.

“Kel?!” She heard a familiar voice say as it rushed downstairs. Turning slowly, she smiled softly, her heart skipping a beat when she saw him. His hair was longer and considerably messier than it had been when she knew him, but his eyes were the same warm brown. She set the little girl down on the couch beside her and stood up, rushing over and hugging him tightly. He returned her hug, just as tightly as she remembered and she swallowed the lump in her throat, whispering the only words that came to her mind.

“I missed you,” She felt him smile beneath her arms as he whispered it back to her. She finally pulled away and looked into his eyes, taking a deep breath. “Zac…we need to talk.”

He nodded in response and finally glanced over at the little girl, his eyes widening a little bit, but was obviously trying to hide it. She took his hand and led him over to the couch, sitting down beside him and pulling Lexi on her lap.

“Zac…” She took a deep breath, not really sure where to begin. “There was a reason that I left, when I did. It wasn’t anything you or anyone else did, I was young and …quite honestly, incredibly stupid, but I had a reason.”

She paused, looking down into Lexi’s face and took a deep breath, gathering up all her courage.

“I was pregnant.” She paused and looked over at his face, then whispered softly. “This is Alexis Shayne, and she is your daughter.”

Zac didn’t respond at first. She could read on his face that he was just as shocked as she expected he would be. He sat there, staring at her with huge eyes, then slowly lowered his eyes to the little girl on her lap, inspecting her face. There was no doubt she was his. She had so many of his features. Even their expressions were the same. He felt his heart stop in his chest and then thud almost painfully as the words sank in.

“She’s…she’s what?” He whispered rhetorically, tears filling his eyes.

“Zac, she’s yours. I didn’t come here for money or for pity. I just want you to have some sort of place in your daughter’s life. I want her to know the incredible man that her father is.”

“Kel, are you insane?” He said suddenly, jumping up quickly as though something bit him. “You come back here after TWO years of being gone and just up and expect that I can handle this kind of thing?! You left me! You just…vanished! I wanted to marry you, and the next thing I knew you were gone!”

She wordlessly nodded and felt her eyes fill with tears, holding the little girl closer to her for comfort.

“Zac, I know. I know I messed up, and I messed up badly. I was a terrible person for leaving, especially the way that I did. I was scared and I based all of my decisions on fear. It wasn’t right and I’m sorry. But I can’t take it back. I’m not even going to ask for a relationship with you. I’m not deserving. I just want your daughter to know you.”

“Kelli, you’re not listening to me!” He almost shouted, exasperated. “I can’t handle this! I can’t handle a child of my own. I’m only 20 years old! I’m not a father, I’m not prepared for this!”

“Neither was I, Zac!” She looked up at him, crying harder now and growing frustrated. “I was only 16 when I had her, you think I was prepared? I was terrified…that’s why I left.”

“I know, you LEFT, Kel. You just up and left, you didn’t even tell me, now you come back and expect me to just jump for joy that I have a kid that I didn’t know about?”

She paused, pursing her lips and biting her tongue hard. There were so many words she wanted to say but none of them would come to the surface. She knew she deserved this, but she couldn’t help but feel let down. None of this was for her own good, it was for her daughters. She wanted Lexi to know about the wonderful man that her father was, she wanted him to know her, even if he wanted nothing more to do with her.

“Why don’t you just tell me how you really feel instead of playing all these childish games? We’re not kids anymore, Zac!” She looked up at him with tear filled eyes.

“Because I don’t know what the hell you want me to do, Kel…I’m not playing games, I’m just not sure what you want from me.”

“All I want is for you to be a part of her life. That’s all.”

“No, Kel.” He paused, looking into her eyes. “I mean, what do you want from me?”

She looked back into his eyes and shook her head, her eyes wide with fear and uncertainty.

“I honestly don’t know, Zac. I really don’t.”

He nodded slowly and looked back at the little girl, swallowing the huge lump in his throat and biting his lip. She was beautiful. His lips slowly curled up into a soft and scared smile, then reached out and mussed her hair playfully, eliciting a grin from the little girl. She snuggled further into her mother and giggled softly. He glanced up at Kelli, then slowly leaned in and pressed his lips to the small forehead between them.

Kelli watched in shock. She had been convinced that he would tell her to leave and react exactly as she had, in fear, and never know his daughter. She knew he was better than that, but it had been a huge shock and, like any human being, Zac wasn’t perfect. She smiled softly, swallowing hard and finally allowing her heart to hope for a relationship with them.

“I love you, pumpkin…” He whispered tearfully, feeling his heart burst with emotion. She looked up at him with big brown eyes and tilted her head to the side.

“Are you my daddy?” He laughed softly and wiped his face off, then held his arms out for her and gingerly picked her up when she reached her arms out for him.

“I am…” He trailed off, just gazing at her face, then looked up at Kelli, still slightly scared. “I’m going to be bad at this…you have to give me time, okay?”

She smiled softly and nodded, understanding, watching them. She knew already that things may not be perfect, but they would work out in the end. All she ever wanted was for Lexi to know her father. And thankfully, it looked as though that would happen.

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