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Here, Darling.

It Feels Better To Me

Alaska had jumped out of the car before Zack had even had time to park up, running like a woman possessed up the drive before bursting through the door, not bothering to take her shoes and coat off as her eyes scanned the room looking for her daughter.

She spotted her on the couch, curled up in a ball, arms wrapped tightly around her legs as she cried her heart out. Alaska walked over slowly, kneeling down in front of the couch, her face only millimetres apart from her daughter’s hair.

“Shhh baby” Alaska soothed, rubbing a hand comfortingly on Ava’s back, as soon as the words came out of her mouth Ava jumped onto her mouth, winding her arms around her neck and wrapping her legs tightly around her mother’s slim waist, crying loudly as Chris paced in front of the TV.

“What happened?” Alaska asked, bouncing slightly on the spot as she continued to rub small circles onto the little girls back, trying to sooth her and calm her down. Chris shook his head, throwing his arms in the air as he continued to pace.

“Come on baby, tell Mommy what’s wrong” Alaska asked soothingly trying to rock her daughter to calm her down in order to hear what the problem was, Ava was having none of this, instead she continued to wail, her arms constricting tighter and tighter around Alaska’s neck.

Twenty minutes or so later Ava had calmed down, only releasing a slight hiccup as she curled in bed happy her mother was there in order to scare the nightmare away, finally after five minutes of Alaska singing old lullaby’s Ava finally drifted to sleep allowing Alaska to finally be able to breathe and relax realising things weren’t as bas it she had imagined.

“Thanks’ Chris, I’m sorry she freaked out” Alaska called as she headed out of her room, changing out of her work clothes and into a pair of basketball shorts and an old iron man t-shirt, messily throwing her way into a pony tail as she made her way into the living room.

Instead of being met by the sight of Chris sprawled on the couch she instead saw a crumpled Zack sat awkwardly at the edge of the cushion. Alaska eye’s shot up, hands immediately going to straighten her clothes.

“Sorry, I thought you had left” Alaska mumbled, a hand going to her in an attempt to make it neater and to look more presentable, kicking herself for getting changed and now looking like a scruff in front of Lucy’s brother.

“You, er, left your bag and coat in my car” He mumbled, lifting his hand to show her the articles to prove that he was telling the truth. Alaska just smiled warmly, her sock clad feet immune to the cold tiles as she made her way towards the kitchen, beckoning for Zack to follow her.

“Thank you Zachary, Chris gone to bed?” She asked as she began opening and closing cupboards, piling a plate high with cookies and placing them on the table in front of him, picking one up and taking a bite as she waited for the kettle to boil.

“Y-yeah” Zack stuttered, rubbing his neck awkwardly as his hand edged towards the plate, hesitantly picking one up and taking a small bite. “Is he your boyfriend?” Zack asked, this comment caused Alaska to choke on her cookie, her face going red as she held back the laughter.

“No, definitely not, he’s practically my brother” Alaska snorted, tears of laughter rolling down her cheeks as she brought the two steaming mugs over to the table, collapsing into the seat opposite him as she warmed her hands with the mug.

“Oh” Zack mumbled, a small smile pulling onto his lips as he automatically began to relax, chomping eagerly on another biscuit. “So is sh...” he began before cutting himself off, taking a sip awkwardly as Alaska looked at him suspiciously.

“You mean Ava? Yeah she is mine if that’s what you’re asking” Alaska snapped glaring at the table before letting out a sigh as she ran a hand through her hair before her fingers began to fiddle with the sleeves of her shirt.

“I’m sorry” Alaska sighed, averting her eyes from the table to now look into Zack’s, gnawing at her lip slightly before continuing “People just presume they know things about me when they hear I have a five year old daughter. I’m just over protective of everything when it comes to Ava” Alaska sighed, this was the first time she had told someone about herself, not about Alaska but about Adelaide, and it felt nice to have someone listen.

“Kind of like what I did before I even knew you had a kid?” Zack questioned causing Alaska to half smile, slurping some of her tea before she answered.

“That’s different, you were looking out for your sister and you have to admit that I have a shitty job. Of course people are going to judge me on it” Alaska shrugged, nibbling away at another biscuit as Zack began to slouch in his seat, nudging his coat off and onto the chair before helping himself to more food.

“Why do you work in the bar anyway?” he questioned, liking the fact that he was getting to know someone who didn’t care that he was part of a band, or weren’t trying to use him to get into one of the other guy’s band, he felt like he was making a genuine friend, one that he hadn’t had since high school, since before they started the band.

“Because my life was over and done with when I dropped out of College, I had no family to stick with me and no career, O’s was the best thing to happen to me. It gave me stability and made it possible to comfortably raise Ava without struggling to figure out how I was going to afford food or the rent money. Especially with all the problems with my parent’s but that’s a different story for another day.” Alaska sighed, getting off her seat and pacing the kitchen, it made her feel like such a failure to admit this to someone. She hated it that she didn’t have a steady future, a career that her daughter could be proud of.

“You’re life’s not over and done with Adelaide” Zack sighed, as soon as the name fell out of his mouth Alaska couldn’t help but jump slightly, startled, it felt different to be called her birth name instead of the one she was given at the bar.

“Zack, you don’t understand! You’re not in charge of someone else’s life; you don’t have someone else depending on you. It’s fucking hard to not crumble sometimes” Alaska explained, stopping by the counter, resting her hands on them as she stared at the speckled counter top, refusing to look anywhere near him.

“You’re not alone” Zack whispered, resting a hand on Alaska’s shoulder, comforting her in a way that didn’t make her feel overwhelmed, just helping to reassure her that there were people there to help her, people that were her friends.


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