"Ezra?" the voice called from downstairs.
"I'm doing it right now," he called back down in response to her unvoiced question. Tucking a stray hair behind his ear, he turned the silver knob and stepped into his father's office.
"Dad's not even dead a week and already I'm clearing out his stuff," he muttered, then squeezed his eyes shut as the memories of the past week came flooding back. Swallowing around the lump in his throat, he tucked the hair behind his ear again and shut the door behind him. His dad's office wasn't too messy, a few filing cabinets to sort through, a desk, and some pictures and knick-nacks made up the room. The stereo caught his eye, and Ezra walked over to it, flipping the switch. U2 began to quietly flow through the speakers, and Ezra grinned to himself, shaking his head.
"Typical dad," he said quietly, flopping down in the black leather chair and opening the bottom desk drawer. The only thing in it was a rather large Doc Marten shoebox, that looked like it was about to fall apart at a moment's notice. Ezra raised an eyebrow and pulled out the box, setting it on the desk in front of him. 'Walk On' began to play, and Ezra grabbed the remote, turning up the volume a few notches, then tossed the remote back down and slowly pulled off the lid to the box, picking up the letter that was on top.
* * *
"What's that?" Zac hovered over Taylor's shoulder from the back of the van.
"Nothing Zac!" Taylor's hands covered over the page in front of him and ducked his head away from Zac's reaching hand. "You can't see it."
"Taylor's got a secret!" Zac bounced back into the seat behind him and repeated his phrase loud enough to cause Taylor to want to disappear on the spot. Their older brother Isaac cranked his neck back from the front seat.
"Zac, shut up already." He lowered his sunglasses and eyed Taylor. "What do you got?"
"Nothing," Taylor repeated tucking the piece of paper he'd just scribbled on back into the folder on his lap. "None of your business anyways." He shifted in the van's middle seat, tucking away the folder in the space beside him. Isaac turned back and faced the front seat, talking quietly to the driver. Taylor looked out of the window of the tiny black van as the scenery of Paris seemed to fly by him; they had arrived to the city only that morning and he was starting to feel the jet lag from their flight in from New York. He could still hear Zac behind him, now singing along to the headphones and the music only he could hear.
Taylor and his brothers had a concert the next day and he was itching to be outside the confining space of the van and look at the city before him. He made another uncomfortable shift in his chair.
"We're almost there, son," Taylor's father, Walker, mentioned to his son from the seat besides him. "I can tell you're waiting to get out. I suppose once all the luggage is in the hotel you can go for a little sightseeing."
Taylor smiled slightly.
"As long as you bring your brother," Walker continued. Taylor's smiled faded.
"Yes, Zac, and Isaac if he wants to."
"But he'll...he's.. he's gonna run around."
"I'll talk to him. Give him a little more of your time Taylor, and he won't try to steal it from you instead."
Taylor crossed his arms in defense and nodded to his Dad as the van came to a stop.
"All out," the driver in his heavy accent announced, and Taylor flung the van's side door open and stepped out into the sunny day. He stretched and was suddenly pushed aside by Zac, who bounded out beside him.
"Zachary!" Walker warned as Zac headed straight towards the hotel's doors. "Get back here and carry your things in."
Zac sighed and turned back around heading towards the van's trunk. They grabbed their bags and then some, and started to make their way into the lobby of the hotel. Walker and their manger had already checked in, and were ready with the boy's keys by the time everyone and their bags were in the middle of the lobby floor. Taylor took his right away and headed towards the stairs, skipping over the elevator in favor of having a few moments to himself before he was back in a noisy room with Zac. Most of the time the three brothers would share a room, but for some reason Taylor was booked in with Zac for their short stay in the country. The rest of the family, which included another brother, Mackenzie and three sisters, Avery, Jessica and Zoe, had tagged along with them overseas. Taylor was somewhat glad their Mother and their friend Ashley had come with them so he wouldn't have to tag along with the kids the whole trip. He swung open the door to his floor and pushed along the luggage until he found the door. Reaching into this pocket he slipped in the key and opened it, dragging the luggage into the room.
Zac had already made it in and from the looks of it, Taylor suspected, he had already made a mess. His open luggage laid across the bed, and random pairs of pants and shirts were already on the floor.
"Zac?" Taylor called out. Zac's head popped out of the bathroom that lead from the right. A toothbrush hung out of his mouth and he smiled at his brother.
"Hey Taywore," He took the toothbrush out as toothpaste and spit dripped on his chin.
"Zac, that's gross. Go away."
He flung his suitcase onto the bed and fell alongside it, finally able to strech his arms and legs without bumping into anyone or anything. He closed his eyes to enjoy the moment but before long he felt the bed crease down more and opened his eyes to see Zac standing above him.
"Don't tell me you're tired! Dad said you were going to take me sightseeing!" He jumped on the bed for a second before Taylor sat up and grabbed his leg, sending him falling onto the bed in a bouncing heap. "Hey Taylor! Why'd you do that for?"
"I don't want to go out Zac, I'm too tired. Why don't you go find Isaac and go with him." He reached into his backpack and took out the same folder from before and grabbed a pen.
"Writting your girlfriend a love letter?" Zac said hopping off the bed and putting his shoes on.
"Zac, she's not my girlfriend and I'm just writing her so she knows we've made it safe. Dad says I can't call because the prices are too high."
"Whatever, she's your girlfriend!" Zac ran towards the door still yelling. "TAYLOR'S GOT A GIRLFRIEND!"
Taylor rolled his eyes as Zac vaulted out the door and hoped he wouldn't return for awhile after. He sat up against the headboard and started to scribble across the empty piece of paper.
* * *
June 23rd, 1998 -- Toronto, Canada (Molson Amphitheater).
Taylor pushed his way through the venue's front door and started to make his way to the stage.
"Taylor, you've got yourself some mail," Walker called from behind. "Looks like Emily sent it here, the venue just handed it over."
He smiled and turned around. "I knew we'd work something out between getting letters."
"You told her to send them to the venues?" Walker arrived in front of Taylor and handed him a package.
"Yeah I told her to send it to the venue we were going to be at a week after she sent it, just in case. I didn't get anything from her until now so I was hoping it'd start working."
Mr. Hanson smiled. "Since we'll be in the states in a few days you can start calling her if you'd like, but I think your letter idea would work," he handed his son the package.
"Thanks Dad, I'm sending her pictures and stuff from overseas as soon as I finish writing her a return letter."
Mr. Hanson nodded. "Well right now you've got soundcheck but you've got time to open your letter too."
Taylor nodded and started to open the package as Mr. Hanson walked away.