He met her on a hot summer night his senior year. His first crush, first love. He fell hard. He took things as slow as a hormonal teenage boy could be expected. He was armed with the knowledge of the difficult road of teen parenting, and avoided that like a plague. He saw first hand how hard it was for his mom, how hard it was for him. After having a bachelor pad for a short stint, he asked Brynn to move in. His mom, Kenzie had tried setting him up with other girls, but Brynn was who he wanted. Shortly after move in, an unexpected surprise was announced as is apt to happen. And Brynn was pregnant with Lewis. They did the grown up thing, and got a two bedroom apartment in downtown Southport, got married, and had a son.
The unexpected for Zeke was the day he found his wife had cheated on him, many times. The divorce followed swiftly after, and was finalized before Lewis turned one. Her visitation is twice a week at his apartment, and once a week Lewis treks off to her trailer home. She struggles to pay child support, but does pay it. She doesn’t mind not being married, in fact has fears of ever being married again. She realized she isn’t very good at the wife bit, and not much better at being a mom, so she didn’t push to have custody of Lewis.
But she is there for her visitations, and she likes to tuck him at night. She thought she would be a good mom one day, isn’t that every girl’s dream? It just didn’t seem to happen for her, and she wonders when her life became so empty. But she isn’t sure how to change it, and even more unsure if she’d ever want to. Which makes her visitations difficult, cause Zeke has forgiven her, and he wants her back.
And sometimes she wants him too. But not for marriage, not for life. Just for the moment, maybe a lot of moments strung together, but not permanently. He plays it cool, and calm, and takes what she has to give of herself. He hopes that she will realize the mistake of her ways and come back, complete the family, rejoin her boys.
His mom, Kenzie thinks his head is in the clouds, and that he has much to learn in life. She waits for him to come to grips that Brynn is not who he thought she was. In the meantime she is there for her son and grandson. She comes by to clean the place up, and complain while she does so. She watches Lewis while Zeke goes jogging, his only real hobby these days. She brings her daughter, Lorelei some weeks. And Lewis loves his Grandma and Aunt Lor.
Lorelei is pretty proud of the little spunky kid. But she’s positive she is not having kids anytime soon, if ever. She doesn’t keep her opinion of Brynn close to her chest, and is all too likely to attack Brynn, so much so that she is not allowed on visitation nights.
Kenzie emails Zeke one morning. “Zeke, I urge you to look for another woman outside of Brynn. I heard you two were seen kissing recently. She’s no good for you.” Zeke grumbles and deletes without reply.
“What’s the matter with you this morning?” Lizzie prods. She came in to work to work the morning shift while Zeke recovers from the flu. He works third shift, but Lewis doesn’t. Zeke is often struggling the balance of third shift work and a baby that is up at 7am.
“Maybe it’s time you got back in bed and rested. You’re no good to Lewis if you’re on your death bed.” He knows she’s right and stumbles back to bed while she feeds Lewis breakfast.
His Grandma Milla comes in the afternoon and makes him her comfort soup. It tastes like childhood, home, and lazy days home from school. He’s on the road to recovery much quicker. He adores Grandma Milla. She and the late Grandpa Peter had help raise him when his mom got pregnant so young. They spoiled him with love, and attention more than any other grandchild.
Upon recovery Zeke decides to head to the local diner to meet someone. He isn’t into drinking, so the bar scene is out, and he’s lousy at poker. He does enjoy a good gyro with jukebox music though. He figures if there’s a girl for him out there, that she would enjoy this kind of place. He meets some very lovely ladies, and asks a nice Kendra out on a date. They spent the evening at the diner, did a photo booth which was quite embarrassing for Zeke. In the end he decided she was nice, but not Brynn.
He called Brynn the next day to meet him at a cafe. She arrived, and with butterflies he asked her to date. Put out there all his vulnerabilities and feelings for her despite the cheating she did. She rejects him. She knew it was dangerous to be friendly with him, she didn’t think it would explode so quickly. She felt it was good for Lewis to have them get along. And there was a tiny part that hoped she could learn to love him enough to be faithful. But when the moment arrived, she knew it wouldn’t work. She told him no. He pleaded with her in the middle of the road. She grew angry that he could be so naive and selfish. He grew angry and was humiliated all over again, but now publicly.
He went back home to Lizzie who was babysitting Lewis and told her everything.
“I just don’t know what to say to you Zeke. Brynn has always used you, she isn’t the girl you think she is. Everyone can see this, but you. She’s told you many times that she doesn’t love you, that she doesn’t want you. But you always go back. I don’t know what to do or say anymore.” She’s frustrated and shrugs her shoulders a little too much and waves her arms wildly.
Zeke doesn’t know what to say ether. He knows that Lizzie is speaking the truth, but it makes him want to defend Brynn. He wants to shout that she is wrong, but he doesn’t say anything. This is Lizzie. The girl who looks up to him, and smiles at him shyly. The girl he kissed one crazy, sad, train wreck of a night. He doesn’t want to hurt her. But he does, because he doesn’t love her like he does Brynn. Maybe he could make himself love her, Lewis already adores her. And maybe a luke warm love is all he has going for him. There’s only ever been Brynn, and that didn’t work out at all. Maybe luke warm is safe.
He says good night to Lizzie, and tucks Lewis in who is fast asleep for the moment. For once, the neighbor isn’t having a party, and Lewis is able to have sweet dreams without interruption. Leaving Zeke to think his life over.
Notes: Zeke fell hard for Brynn, they are only two stars. When I played her house after she moved out he was over there constantly, and they auto woohoo’d on the sofa. No matter how bad she treats him, he always has her as his number 1. The nanny, Lizzie seems pretty smitten with Zeke and he doesn’t mind her company, but isn’t head over heels for her. He never connected with anyone in high school, but when I took him to the diner he had ladies swooning and lining up for him just to greet him.
Lewis gets his red hair from Zekes bio dad (colby), who is a loser. Zeke didn’t really know his dad, but whenever Kenzie dated other guys, Zeke would get furious with her. He spent most of his childhood angry and hating his mom. Once she married Tyler he was fine with it, but until that day it was a hard life for Kenzie and Zeke.