"Thanks Cous. You're the best." Her cousin Bucky thanked with a sigh of relief. Addison scoffed.
"Of course I am! I couldn't let my favorite cousin get killed by Aunt Kitty 'cause pictures of him and his boyfriend leaked." She teased. Bucky groaned on the other end of the line.
"Aren't you in pubic? Could you keep your voice down?" He asked in irritation. Addison laughed.
"Relax! There's no one around." She assured.
"Anyways, he's not my boyfriend. He's more like a mistake. If I liked him enough to be my boyfriend, I wouldn't care if my parents found out." Bucky clarified.
"Aww! You are a romantic at heart!" Addison teasingly gushed.
"Shut up Addison. Just get home before your parents realize you're gone." He scolded, clicking the line dead and making Addison giggle. She shoved her phone in the front pocket of her jacket and continued down the street.
It was sunset and the street lamps of Seabrook were just turning on. Addy was walking swiftly down the sidewalk with her hood up, cloaking her platinum white hair. Ahead she saw a man standing on the curb. His black trench coat and matching fedora making her uneasy. She quickened her pace even more, passing him without delay.
She thought she might be in the clear, but then footsteps started following her.
"Shit." She cursed under her breath, then took off in a death sprint. Her phone falling out of the unsecured pocket and shattering on the ground but she couldn't stop to pick it up. "Shit!" She cursed again. She had to focus on getting away however.
"Hey!" The man called but she didn't stop to turn around. He was already chasing her.
She ran and ran but she couldn't shake this guy. Suddenly, an old fence with warning signs of zombies came into view. She'd take her chances. She squeezed through a gap in the fence and kept running. She could hear the clanking of the fence protesting as the larger body tried to fit through.
She turned the corner out of the alleyway and bumped hard into someone tall. She fell backwards and would have hit the ground if the person hadn't caught her by the wrist.
"Whoa! Slow down! Where's the fire?" He said with a chuckle. She looked up to see his bright smile against his pale skin. The light of the street lamp illuminating his green hair like a glowing halo. Her eyes widened when she realized he was a zombie. But she didn't have time to be worried about that. The echo of hurried footsteps snapped her out of her shock. She got her footing and shoved him back to press against the wall between a pair of dumpsters, her body pressed firmly into his to keep him flush to the wall.
"Hey! Wha-?!" He started to protest in confusion, but she slapped her hand over his mouth and raised a finger to her lips for a silent 'shh'. She turned her head to listen as the man came out of the alley and looked around. She could see him through a small gap and watched as he whipped out his phone.
After a pause, he spoke. "Yeah. It was her." "No, I couldn't see her face." "Right, but-" "I'm sure it was!" "No, I can't prove it was her. But she ran! Right into Zombietown!" "Well yeah, but-" "I know, 'Her family hates zombies.'" "Ok." She heard his one side of the conversation. "Fuck!" He cursed as he stomped back the way he came. When she couldn't hear his footsteps anymore, she sighed in relief and removed her hand from the zombie boy's mouth.
The zombie boy.
She looked back up to see his brown eyes staring back at her, his cheeks flushed in embarrassment.
"Oh my god! I'm so sorry!" She apologized as she jumped back off of him. He cleared his throat to try and compose himself but the blush didn't subside.
"It's, um, it's fine." He assured her, his eyes looking at anything but her face. "You're family hates zombies huh?" He asked with a hint of hurt in his voice. She instinctively took a step forward but stopped herself short.
"My parents always taught me that zombies were hideous, dead eyed freaks, but," she paused as her eyes became slightly dazed, "you're not hideous at all." She mused dreamily.
"Thanks. I'll take it!" He accepted with a smile. His smile really was contagious as how own lips curled up.
"My family has hated zombies ever since one bite my grandfather's ear off 50 years ago." She told him the story. He smiled jokingly.
"And now we'll just talk your ear off." Addison giggled.
"So, what was that guy after you for? Are you in trouble or something?" He asked, he finally looked her in the face, his showing his concern.
She laughs humorlessly. "They're the trouble, not me." She said as her smile fell into a frown. She looked back at him and saw his concern deepen on his features. 'Is he worried about me?' She thought to herself.
"Um, thanks for catching me. I should have been paying better attention to where I was going." She offered him a small smile to lighten the conversation. His own smile returned and Addison felt her heart flutter.
"Don't mention it! If I was running from someone," He paused as he thought something over in his head for a moment, "I'd probably trip over my own feet and get caught right off the bat." His joke made Addison laugh, a sincere laugh that not even she'd heard in a while. His smile brightened.
"I'm Zed." He introduced. She looked up, her eyes sparkling from her carefree laughter.
"I'm Addison." She replied. "Nice to meet you Zed." She reached out a hand for a formal introductory handshake. He gladly accepted and grabbed her hand.
"Yeah! Nice to meet you." He said. Both of them felt a strange warmth flood their systems as they stared into each other's eyes.
The moment drew longer and the connection only felt stronger. Addison caught onto her dazed state and fidgeted in her spot, averting her eyes from his and slowly retracting her hand. When she broke the eye contact, Zed snapped out of it, pulling his hand back as well with a nervous chuckle.
"Sorry! Um," he looked around at the now dark streets, "is it safe for you to head back home? With that guy out there and all." He asked. Addison bit the inside of her cheek in thought and looked in the direction she came uneasily. Zed could see her hesitation and quickly added, "You could crash at my place?" He offered. Her head snapped in his direction.
"Oh! No! I couldn't impose!" She argued. Zed shook his head and grabbed her hand to pull her along.
"It's no problem at all! You can use my room and I'll crash on the couch!" He reasoned. Addison matched his pace and took back her hand so he wouldn't have to lead her.
"What about your family? Won't they have something to say about a human staying the night in your room? A girl at that?" She teased with a little nudge in the arm. Zed chuckled and shooed her off.
"My pops won't care! All he's ever told me about humans is that they can be a little mean, but he doesn't have any grudges against them." He told her confidently. She bit her lip, staring at the ground as they walked. She felt bad for not telling him the whole truth.
"Well, ok." She agreed shyly. "But I can totally crash on the couch. You don't have to give up your bed." She politely refused.
"Pff!" He scoffed. "You think I'd give you the better option? The couch is so much more comfortable!" He joked with thick sarcasm. Addison laughed another genuine laugh.
"I can't remember the last time I've laughed so much!" She mused more to herself than Zed. He leaned forward as they walked to looked her in the face.
"I'm glad it's now, 'cause your laugh is beautiful." He told her with a smile. It was Addison's turn to blush. Under her hood, she tucked a lock of hair behind her ear. Zed took notice just as they were coming up on his house. He hops up the first step then slows.
"It's past zombie curfew, I'm technically late. But, um, you might wanna put your hood down so you don't scare my dad and sister." He said with an awkward laugh, turning back towards her from the top step. Addison stiffened from her spot a few feet from the front porch.
"Well, uh-" she tried to think of an excuse to keep it on but nothing came to mind. She sighed in defeat. "Zed, I have to be honest with you." She said. Zed's brows furrow as he takes a step back down. She fidgets nervously then plants her feet determinedly. "Just, don't freak out ok?" Zed gulped but nodded as he moved off the last stair.
Addison lifted her hands to the fabric of her hood. Gingerly running her fingers over the material, squeezing her eyes shut as she debates on proceeding. But she trusts Zed. He's done nothing but try to help her. She lowers her hood, not opening her eyes to see his face until she hears nothing. She peaks up shyly.
Zed's eyes were widened a fraction, his mouth slightly agape, but she swore she saw the pink return to his cheeks. It gave her the slightest bit of confidence. She lifted on hand and gave him a pleading look. "Don't freak out." And she snapped her fingers, a glowing pink heart appearing in thin air. It swirled swiftly around her and her hair began to magically lengthen and darken to a natural blonde color. When it was done, she had medium length, perfect blonde curls.
Zed's jaw was hanging on its hinges. Her fearful eyes made him immediately close his mouth and shake his head to clear his thoughts.
"A-Addy, what-?" He started to ask. But she cut him off, glancing around nervously at the empty streets.
"I'll explain everything, I swear. Let's just get inside first, ok?" She nearly begged. Zed nodded quickly.
"Y-yeah! Of course!" He agreed, reaching a hand out to her. She looked at his outstretched hand for a second. She'd just shown him her magic and he was still willing to take her hand. Hesitantly, she placed her hand in his. She couldn't deny the warm feeling in her chest when their fingers brushed, or how he lightly squeezed her hand in reassurance. Zed gently led her to the front door and opened it for her before entering himself. He shut and locked the door behind them.
Addison glanced around as she walked further into the living room. It was small; the furniture was mismatched, the old 60's wallpaper was peeling along the edges, and the tv was way out of date.
"Zed?" Addison heard a male voice from the other room. Addison spun around towards the voice just as the older man came walking out.
"Yeah, Dad. It's me." He replied. His dad was shorter and his face looked tired as if he'd been overworked or hadn't had enough sleep. But his look of relief at seeing Zed was finally home spoke wonders for the amount of love and concern he had for his son. Then his expression hardened slightly as he put his hands on his hips.
"You're late." He said firmly, expectant of an explanation. Zed scratches the back of his head and laughs.
"Sorry Pops! I, uh, bumped into someone who needed a little help!" He explained, gesturing to Addison standing in the living room. The older zombie looks at her in surprise like it's the first time noticing her presence.
"Oh!" He said in surprise. His brows furrowed when he got a good look at her. "A human?" He asked in confusion. Zed hurried around him to stand closer to Addison.
"Yeah! See, she kinda stumbled into Zombietown by mistake! Then she bumped into me, and it was getting late and she didn't want to walk all the way back into Seabrook alone at night! So I offered for her to crash here until morning so I could walk her back to the barrier and she could get home safe and sound!" Zed rambled off energetically. His dad gave him a raised brow look, as if to say 'I'm suspicious if you're telling the truth or not'.
"Yeah! I just got lost!" She confirmed. He crossed his arms, still skeptical.
"So you came through a fence with warning signs plastered all over it?" He countered.
"Well, there was this creepy man who'd been following me, so I was running to get away from him. But when I ran into Zed, the man took off." She admitted, not giving too much information but just enough to make her situation more believable. It worked. His dad's face shifted to shock.
"Oh, well, in that case, you're definitely welcome to stay here for the night. I'll grab some extra blankets for the couch." He said, walking away.
"I'll take the couch Dad. She can use my bed." Zed told him, motioning for Addison to follow him towards the stairs. "Come on, my room's up here." He said.
The teens made their way up the stairs and heard his dad call from the bottom, "Open door!" He warned. Zed groaned and rolled his eyes in embarrassment while Addison giggled. "And first day of school tomorrow! Don't stay up too late!" He reminded.
"Shoot, that's right." Zed mumbled. Addison smiled.
"First day at a school in Seabrook, right?" She asked as confirmation. Zed nodded excitedly.
"Yeah! It's gonna be great! No more dingy basements for classes for us!" His enthusiasm was infectious. Addison felt giddy for the zombies. For the first time, they're going to be treated like normal kids. But then she remembered how everyone felt about zombies in Seabrook. She bit her lip, not wanting to put a damper on Zed's excitement.
"I really hope it's everything you hope it is." She sincerely wished. Zed smiled back at her brightly as they walked down the short hallway.
"And here we are! Sorry if it's a little messy. I wasn't expecting company!" He said jokingly. Addison giggled.
Zed's room was cozy, small by Seabrook standards but it didn't feel as tight as Addison would have expected. Instead, it felt warm and inviting. Unlike any rooms in Seabrook; cold and stale.
"Here, you can sit on the bed." Zed offered, taking his own seat in a rolling desk chair. She sat down slowly, anxious about the conversation she's about to have with him. He leaned forward in his chair and rested his elbows on his knees.
"So! Magic powers huh?" He said low with a smile and a curious sparkle in his eyes.
"In a simplistic kinda way, yes." She nodded, taking in a deep breath and sighing to help her relax. "I'm kinda a witch." She admitted, keeping her voice down from any unwelcomed ears.
"Whoa! No way!" He exclaimed a little too loudly. Addison waved her hands frantically.
"Shh shh! Keep it down, would ya!" She scolded. Zed winced.
"Sorry." He whispered. Addy sighed.
"It's ok. You gotta keep this between us though ok?" She said, looking him in the eye. He nodded quickly.
"Definitely! I won't tell a soul!" He promised, putting a hand over his still heart to prove it. Addison rolled her eyes. Zed moves his chair forward and took one of her curls around his fingers before letting it fall again.
"What's with the hair makeover?" He asked. Addison brought her hands up to stroke the locks nervously.
"My real hair is freakish. And I-I can't change it. My parents have always made me cover it. And they're right! It makes the perfect version of me for Seabrook. To blend in." She looks away, loosing any confidence in her own words.
"If it means anything, I like your hair. Your real hair." He said sincerely. Addison stared at him with wide eyes for a moment then her face softens when she can see he means it.
A smile creeps into her lips and a giggle escapes. "Thanks." She says with a dusting of pink on her cheeks. Zed leans back into his chair, the protesting squeaks of the old springs lightens both of them up as they laugh over the humorous noise.
"But that spell is pretty impressive! It's a perfect disguise!" He praised, but she snorts lightly.
"This is nothing really. I can keep this on for nearly 3 days straight if I don't cast anything else on top of it." She told him proudly. He quirked a brow curiously, prompting her to continue. "See, my magic has to recharge. If I use a lot of magic at once, I will need to recover before casting another spell." She explained, then grabbed the tips of her long curls and flipped them playfully. "This spell doesn't expend much at all, so I can keep it intact for long periods of time."
"Ok, I think I get it." Zed nodded along, pondering what she was saying. "Is that why that man was after you? To use you for your magic?" He asked, his concern returning. She stared down at her lap where she was nervously twirling with her thumb ring.
"Yeah." She confirmed. "A man named Christian Raven is an evil sorcerer who's been after my family's magic for years. That man was one of his henchman. He killed my great grandmother and we've been hiding ever since. I don't even know how they found me!" She fought back her threatening tears as the gravity of the situation finally settled in. Zed heard the shake in her voice and place a gently hand over hers.
"Hey, you're safe here. It sounded like you threw them off your trail by coming into Zombietown!" He encouraged. Addison looked up at his kind smile and felt a little better.
"Thanks." She whispered. He squeezed her hand. She gazed into his warm brown eyes and her heart began to pound. The connection she felt with him was overwhelming. She turned her hand over to hold his.
He sucked in a sharp breath. His eyes flick to her lips, slightly parted and, man, did he want to kiss them. He looks back to her beautiful, half hooded, sky blue eyes. He scooted his chair closer, reaching up to cup her cheek softly. She leaned forward, closing the distance that much more.
"Zed?" A small voice came from the doorway. Both teens jump away from each other, Zed's chair rolling backwards and he spun around to narrow his eyes at his little sister. Sure enough, Addison saw a little zombie girl with green pigtails and a patchy, stuffed dog tucked under her arm.
"You're supposed to be in bed, Zoey." Zed scolded, standing from his seat and walking over to pick her up. Zoey was looking around him as he approached to get a glance at the girl in her brother's room. She looked at him when he lifted her into his arms.
"I heard voices and got curious!" Zoey argued, looking back at the human girl. She didn't seem afraid like most little kids her age might be of a stranger in their house. Especially a human. But rather smiled warmly at her. "You're a really pretty human." She commented. Addison giggled while Zed gaped at his sister.
"Zoey!" Zed exclaimed. Addison stood and walked over to the siblings.
"Why, thank you, Zoey. I'm Addison! I'm Zed's new friend." She introduced, glancing up at the big brother, the two exchanging a smile. Zoey didn't miss the look and smirked.
"Yeah, girlfriend!" She teased. Zed glared at his sister.
"Ok. That's enough. Time for bed." He ordered, plopping her down on her feet outside his bedroom door and putting his hands on his hips. Addison stepped beside him, her smile still in place as she bent down with her hands on her knees to be at the 6 year old's height.
"Maybe someday, but not right now." She said softly, as if telling the little girl a secret. Zoey giggled. "Now, go get in bed! I'm sure you've got a big day tomorrow!" She encouraged. Zoey nodded and skipped down the hall to her own bedroom and shut the door quietly.
When she stood up, Zed was a blushing mess, fidgeting nervously and avoiding eye contact with her. She rolled her eyes, stepping forward into his personal space and pulling him down by the collar of his shirt. She pressed her lips firmly to his, his eyes wide and a noise of surprise catching in his throat before he recovered, kissing her back passionately. His hands sprawling over her hips.
Then she pulls back. Both of them take in a breath to steady themselves. She lifts her eyes to look into his. They both smile and begin to laugh softly as she leans into his arms.
"Sorry." She giggled.
"No! It's all good." He quickly convinced. "So, girlfriend?" He asked. She looked back up and her eyes were alight with excitement and happiness.
"Someday." She said agreed wistfully. But then her expression was shy as she looked up through her lashes. "We should probably get to bed ourselves though." She persuaded, stepping back slowly. His fingers reluctantly sliding off of her hip.
"You're probably right." He admitted. "I'll, uh, see you in the morning." He said, stepping out of the threshold, turning to watch her walk to his bed and sit down with a light bounce. "Goodnight." He said softly.
"Goodnight." She whispered back as Zed flipped off the light.
Zed tossed and turned on the sofa. It was too short for his long legs to fit so he had to either be cramped and curled up on the cushions, or his calfs had to be propped on the arm rest, which was uncomfortable too. Not to mention, the couch was very old and worn so the cushions didn't have much fluff left in them.
He'd been falling asleep off and on for hours. He glanced up at the wall clock and could vaguely make out that it was 3 am in the dim lighting. He sighed and turned onto his back, staring tiredly up at the ceiling.
Then, through the quiet of night, he started to hear soft sound of sobbing coming from upstairs. Zed sat up and rubbed his tired eyes. He threw off his blanket and planted his feet to the floor.
"Poor Zoe must be having a nightmare." He muttered to himself, standing and quietly heading up the stairs.
To his surprise when he reached the top of the stairs, the soft weeping was actually coming from his room. His brows knit together in concern. The door was barely cracked, the quiet noise slightly muffled by the fabric of the pillow or sheets. He pushed open the door and peaked inside.
Addison's short white hair shimmering from the faint moonlight shining through his small bedroom window across his pillow. He could see her shoulders shaking another sob escaped. He didn't hesitate to enter the room and kneel beside the bed, placing his hand gently on her shoulder.
She gasped loudly and jumped, swinging and trying to scramble away from the touch. Zed narrowly dodged a fist from landing on his face and grabbed her arms firmly but gently.
"Hey! Hey. It's ok. It's me." He told her soothingly. She seemed to get her bearings as her breathing calmed and she relaxed under his grasp. He loosened his hold when she was calmer. "You're safe." He assured further.
"S-sorry." She apologized shakily. Zed chuckled.
"It's fine. No harm, no foul." He said. She giggled under her breath as she wiped the tears from her cheeks. He got up to sit with her on the mattress. "You ok?" He asked in concern.
"Y-yeah. Just a bad dream, ya know?" She looked up at him sheepishly. He smiled softly at her.
"Yeah. I get it." He agreed, some of his own nightmares flashing across his mind. He shivered at the thought. "Wanna talk about it?" He asked gently. Addison pulled her knees up to her chest, shaking her head as her answer.
"Ok. You don't have to." He affirmed comfortingly. They sat quietly for a moment, Zed thinking of how he could make her feel better. Then he got an idea. "Mine are always about Containment." He admitted. Addison's attention perked when he spoke, nodding in understanding.
"I've heard of it. My dad works there sometimes." She said. Zed raised a brow curiously. She rolled her eyes and shook her head. "Don't ask." He chuckled and raised a hand in defense.
"Ok, ok!" He joked. Then he sombered up. "It's always about my mom. She was hospitalized for a while before she passed." He told her. Addison leaned forward and rubbed his arm comfortingly.
"I'm so sorry for your loss." She said sincerely. "I can't imagine." He smiled and shook his head.
"Don't be. It was a long time ago. She's in a better place now." He said, offering a sad smile. Addison returned it, her hand sliding down his arm to grab his. He squeezed it appreciatively. "Or I have nightmares because of my zombie. He's pretty scary too." He dramatically shivered. Addison laughed at his theatrics. Once they settled again, Zed asked.
"You wanna talk about yours? No pressure though!" He assured quickly, making her giggle. She hugged her knees again.
"I'm afraid of what would happen if Raven captures me." She confided. Zed scooted beside her, wrapping his arm around her shoulder.
"Nobody's gonna get you. And even if they do, I know you can beat them." He says confidently. Addison laughs sarcastically in response.
"I'm really not." She counters. "If I get caught, I'll be a goner for sure." Zed pulled her into his side and hugged her tightly.
"I believe in you." He reassured her. She wrapped her own arms around him.
"Thanks Zed." She whispered.
"No problem." Then he lifted his draped hand and lifted the end of her white locks. "Your magic wore off." He pointed out. Addison slapped a hand over the hair instinctively. Zed chuckled causing her to relax.
"Sorry, habit." She apologized.
"Don't apologize. You're fine." He assured her with another laugh. She smiled and snapped her fingers. The little pink heart circled her, and Zed since he was wrapped around her, before dissipating.
"Whoa." Zed mused. "I could feel it." Addison giggled.
"Pretty cool feeling, huh?" She teased. Zed's free hand shot up to his short green hair.
"You didn't turn my hair pink or something did you?!" He joked in a panic. She lightly punched his ribs as they both laughed, him rubbing the offended area gingerly.
"I'll let you get some more sleep." He said, starting to lift his arm off her and leaning forward to get up, but she didn't release her hold around him.
"Can you just, stay? A little longer?" She asked shyly. Zed smiled softly and nodded, repositioning himself so she could get more comfortably and pulled the blanket over her shoulders. Addison cuddled into his side and laid her head on his chest. The two of them quickly fell asleep in their position against his bedroom wall. The warm embrace soothing them both into a peaceful slumber.
Zevon exited his room, fixing the collar of his coveralls as he walked, and went into the living room. He glanced at the couch, expecting to see his son spawned out with his long legs hanging off but did a double take when he just saw the tossed blanket and pillow.
He immediately changed directions to march up the steps.
"I swear to Z if he brought a little whore into my house." He muttered to himself. He reached the top and first thing he noticed was that the door was wide open. He sighed in slight relief already. He quieted his steps as he crept to peak around the corner. The two were propped against the wall, cuddled up together and, to his parental reassurance, both fully clothed.
He smiled and knocked lightly on the open door. "Time to get up kids." He coaxed.
Addison rubbed her face into Zed's shirt while he drowsily wiped his eye with his knuckle and when he tried to stretch but felt the weight on his chest, he was suddenly wide awake.
"D-Dad! Look, I can explain!" He exclaimed in a panic, startling the girl next to him awake as well. "Nothing happened! I was on the couch trying to sleep and I heard she was upset and-"
"Zed!" Zevon interrupted with a humorous smile. "It's fine! Just get up and get ready for school." He instructed, smiling at the two blushing, flustered teens before walking back down the stairs.
"Weird." Zed mumbled. Addison looked up at him with a raised brow.
"What's weird?" She asked.
"He didn't freak out." He mused, then glanced back down at her with a sly smirk. "I should bring pretty human girls home more often!" He joked. Addison rolled her eyes and playfully punched his arm before getting up off the bed. "Come on! I was joking!" He tried. Addison turned back to face him when she reached the doorway.
"Whatever you say hotshot." She teased with her own smirk. "I'm gonna get a quick shower, is that ok?" She asked.
"Yeah." Zed pouted. Addison giggled, running back to the bedside and leaning in to kiss the zombie's cheek before skipping to the bathroom.
Zed waited outside for Addison to finish in the bathroom. When she opened the door, Zed pushed his way in. "Finally!" He teased. Addison laughed as she backed back into the tiny room.
"I wasn't that long!" She argued playfully. Zed chuckled and hurriedly pasted up the tooth brush then got to work on his teeth. "I'll need to hurry and get home. Ya know, brush my teeth and put on some fresh clothes." She emphasized.
Zed turned to her after spitting out the froth. "Sure! I'll take you to the barrier." He agreed, motioning for her to follow after wiping his mouth.
Zed bounces down the stair with Addison close behind. "You kids staying for breakfast?" Zevon called from the kitchen. They both stopped in the doorway.
"Aren't you going to eat with us Zed?" Zoey urged with her best puppy dog face smooshed against her patchy stuffed dog. Addison pushed past Zed with her hand clasped together.
"Awww! You are soooo precious!" She gushed. "Of course he'll eat with you!" Zed's mouth fell open.
"Umm, so, you're suddenly confident enough to get back to Seabrook on your own?" He questioned half sarcastically. Addison turned back to him in thought.
"Oh right." She agreed. "You'll have time to come back! You're little sister is counting on you." Zed looked at Zoey who was grinning cutely at him.
"I swear you're too cute for your own good." He said as he shook his head. Zevon laughed heartily.
"Just get going if you're gonna come back." He told them.
"Thank you so much for letting me stay in your home! It was so great to meet you all!" Addison thanked gratefully. Zevon shook his head as he sat down the tray of cauliflower brains on the table.
"It's our pleasure! You can stop over anytime!" He assured her.
"Thank you sir." She said with a smile.
"Thanks Dad. We gotta go! I'll be back soon!" Zed yelled as he pulled Addison by the wrist towards the door.
Zed shut the door behind them and, almost immediately, a female was yelling his name.
"Zed!" The voice exclaimed. When Addison turned to look who it was, their eyes locked. The curly haired zombie girl stopped dead in her tracks on the sidewalk.
Zed immediately rushed forward to stop the girl from freaking out.
"Eliza! Hey! Don't freak out! It's not what it looks like!" He tried to sooth. Addison felt a sharp ding hit her heart. How could she be such a fool? Addison followed behind him and as soon as he turned, she slapped him across the face. He was stunned, holding his now tender cheek. Then she turned to Eliza.
"You don't have to worry about me anymore." She said with an obviously fake smile before hurrying past them and marching down the street, tears pricking her eyes. Not caring that she was the only human in Zombietown or that all eyes were on her as she stormed off.
"Addison! Wait! Shit." Zed cursed under his breath. He started to chase after her but Eliza caught his elbow.
"What are you doing with a human?!" She hissed. Zed yanked his arm out of her grip.
"Like I said, it's not what it looks like. But it's not really your business, is it." He hissed back, taking off after the blonde.
By the time he caught up to her, she was almost to the barrier, a different part of the barrier mind you but still the barrier.
"Addison! Stop!" He hugged out of breath, catching her wrist. She quickly ripped it out of his hand. She swung around with hot tears streaming down her cheeks.
"I trusted you!" She screamed, indifferent to who was listening. "I trusted you and you used me." She calmed herself down enough to stop shouting. "At least I figured it out before it went any further." She turned to walk away but he grabbed her arm and pulled her into his chest, hugging her tightly as his body shook.
"I-I don't know what you're talking about Addy." He told her in a shaky voice. "I-I really like you and I don't wanna loose you." His voice was sincere and scared. She was shocked. But the vulnerability in his words made her heart hurt worse than feeling like she was cheated on.
She hesitantly wrapped her arms around his torso and squeezed him tight, more tears pouring as she sobbed softly into his chest. He rubbed her back as she cried for a minute until she had settled down. She looked up at him shamefully.
"So, she's not your girlfriend?" She asked. Zed burst out laughing at the question.
"That's what this is all about?" He laughed. "No! Absolutely not! I've know Eliza since we were in diapers! Plus, even if I did like her like that, I'm not exactly her type." He emphasized, giving her a 'she's-definitely-gay' look.
"Oh." She muttered in embarrassment. She lifted a hand to his red cheek, gently rubbing her palm over it. Zed only winced a little from the contact. "Sorry for hitting you." She apologized. He shrugged.
"Don't worry about it. I'm sorry that looked the way it did!" He countered with a smile. She giggled. But their sweet moment was cut short.
"Hey! Human!" The voice she now recognized as Eliza's called in their direction. She was striding towards them with a couple of zombie girls with her, both with long braids through their hair and attitudes to spare.
Zed frowned and let go of Addison to step between her and the approaching girls.
"You're a little far from home, Blondie!" The smaller zombie with braids pointed out.
"Knock it off, Inez." Zed warned. The curvier zombie stepped forward however.
"What's wrong? We're just wondering how she ended up on the wrong side of the barrier?" She added with a sarcastic innocence. Zed clenched his teeth.
"You know what I'm talking about, Azure." He snapped. Eliza folded her arms and stepped up to her childhood friend.
"Are you turning your back on your friends, that you've known your whole life, for a bimbo you met less than 24 hours ago?" Eliza accused. Zed glared down at his best friend.
"How could you even say that?!" He questioned in outrage.
Addison gently placed a hand on his bicep. He felt a strange cooling sensation flow through him and his emotions eased as he calmed down. She smiled up at him. He knew she must have used some kind of spell. With his head cleared of any rage, he realized all of this was a misunderstanding.
Zed dropped his head and raised his hands in surrender. Eliza seemed surprised that he gave in so quickly.
"Hey, I'm not turning on anyone. Why does it have to be one side or the other?" He asked calmly. The three girls look amongst themselves in consideration. "We're all about to be going to school together! We need to get along!" He encouraged, seeing their hesitation. Eliza's face hardened.
"Do you really think things are gonna change? They're having us join the human school because of budget cuts! They don't want us there!" Eliza argued.
"I want you there." Addison spoke up. All of their eyes landed on her. She took a step towards them without fear, instantly gaining a little respect from all except Eliza. "I've been raised to think zombies are monsters." She started. Eliza shifted her weight uncomfortably. Hearing it said out loud was never a pleasant feeling. Addison looked up at Zed beside her. "But I know now that they're wrong. You're not monsters, you're zombies." She said confidently. Eliza looked at her like she grew a second head.
"You're serious?" She asked in confusion. Addison nodded without hesitation and smiled. Eliza thought about it for a second then shrugged. "I guess I shouldn't discriminate against humans." She finally agreed. Zed let out a relieved breath as a wide smile spread across his face. Addison's smile widened too.
"I'm happy to hear that!" Addison said gratefully, then glance down at the ground. "Oh my god! I love your boots!" She complimented. Eliza was surprised for a split second then recovered with a flattered smile.
"Thanks! They're orthodox, I've got this draggy foot thing going on." She joked. Addison let out a laugh.
"I'm Addison by the way! We didn't get a formal introduction." She said, extending her hand to shake. Eliza now gladly accepted her hand and the other two also introduced themselves. With the moment's distraction, Zed pulled Eliza aside.
"She's cool." Eliza admitted. Zed nodded as he glance over at her.
"Yeah, for a human right?" He agreed. Eliza shook her head.
"No, she's just, cool." Unbelieving those words were even coming out of her mouth. But she looked up at her best friend sincerely. "You two look good together." That was probably the last thing he ever expected his revolution driven friend to say to him in his lifetime but he could t be happier. "You need to get her back though. We'll all need to head to school soon." Eliza affirmed.
"Oh shoot! You're right!" Zed agreed. "Addy!" He called. She told the other zombies goodbye and met back up with him. "We gotta go. You don't wanna be late on your first day do you?" He teased. She rolled her eyes then turned to Eliza.
"I'll see you at school right?" She asked.
"That is where we're all heading!" Eliza replied sarcastically with a laugh. "I'll see ya around." She assured waving bye and walking away.
"How'd you do that?" Zed asked as they walked.
"Do what?" She asked curiously.
"Make her like you so fast! She's a tough cookie to crack." Zed said incredulously. Addison laughed.
"I only used a manipulation spell on you!" She assured. "I could tell you were tempted to say things you didn't mean and knew you just needed a little breather." She told him with a sly smile. "I couldn't let your life long friendship be destroyed because of me, now could I?" Her teasing made him chuckle.
"I appreciate that." He thanked then he became more serious. "You're an amazing girl, ya know that?" It was her turn to laugh.
"I'm quite un-extraordinary actually." She discredited with a proper tone. "I'm undercover remember?" She whispered and glanced around jokingly.
"Maybe we can be something extraordinary." He countered, pulling her into his arms. She stared up into his eyes and could see how serious he really was. It made her gulp.
"Y-yeah." She agreed. "Someday." He leaned down and her eyes fluttered shut in anticipation.
"Hands in the air Zombie!" A Zombie Patrol Officer ordered from the barrier a few feet away. Zed's hands immediately released Addison and backed away. He knew by now that you follow their ordered quickly if you don't want to be tased.
Addison froze. The officer rushing forward to detain Zed. He was grabbing his wrists to cuff him. She needed to move. She needed to say something!
"Wait!" She finally yelled. The officer stopped to look at her. "He wasn't trying to hurt me! He was helping me find me way back! I got lost!" She explained. The officer got a good look at her.
"Addison?" He asked. She shifted uncomfortably but nodded in confirmation as she stared at the ground.
"Hi Gus." She greeted. He pushed Zed in the direction of Zombietown, away from the barrier.
"You're only permitted near the one exit by the school. Don't let me catch you here again." Gus threatened. Addison watched sadly as he glanced back at her with a look of longing before turned and did as he was told. Walked away. "What are you doing, Addison?! It's not safe here, you could have been hurt!" Gus scolded.
"But I wasn't!" She argued. Gus sighed.
"Let's get you home." He said in defeat as he escorted her back to her parents.
"You snuck out?!" Missy exclaimed.
"And what were you doing in Zombietown?! It's very dangerous there for humans!" Dale added angrily.
"I didn't have a choice! Raven had a man out who chased me into Zombietown." Addison explained. Missy's face shifted from anger to worry and she hurried up to hug her daughter.
"Oh Honey!" She cooed, petting Addy's hair comfortingly. "I'm so happy you're safe!" Addison rolled her eyes but didn't fight her mother's hold. Missy took her face in her hands. "Why didn't you call us? We could have come and gotten you!"
"My phone fell out of my pocket. I didn't have time to grab it." She said. Missy pouted and hugged her daughter again.
"We'll just get you a new one." Missy said.
"We are just thankful that you're alright, Dear. So," she knew he was phishing, "where did you hide?" Dale asked suspiciously. Addison stiffened. Missy looked down at her in concern from her changed demeanor.
"I, well, there was a family that welcomed me in for the night!" She didn't exactly lie. Missy turned quickly to Dale.
"Are there humans in Zombietown?" She asked. Dale gave Addison a stern look.
"No." He told his wife. So Missy turned back to Addison in surprise.
"You slept in a house with zombies?! What were you thinking?!" She demanded. Addison was lost for words for a moment, but then her cousin's words echoed in her head.
'If I liked him enough to be my boyfriend, I wouldn't care if my parents found out.' She really likes Zed. And she doesn't care that he's a zombie. She like likes a zombie. Her back straightened confidently.
"His name is Zed." She told them firmly. "And he lives with his dad and little sister. They're all very sweet and welcomed me into their home in my time of need." Both of her parent's were gape-mouthed from her statement.
"Addison, they're monsters!" Her mother cried out in disbelief.
"I might be dead if it weren't for them." Addison added softly. "Aren't you grateful that they saved my life?" Her eyes pleaded for them to at least admit that much. At least that zombies saved their daughter from being captured and killed for her magic. They looked at each other then back to Addison, their expressions softened.
"Of course we're grateful, Sweetie." Her mother assured as she wrapped her back into a hug.
"Yes. I think it would be a good idea to meet these zombies so we can thank them ourselves." Her father added. Addison's eyes widen.
"Oh! I don't know about that!" She said with a nervous laugh.
"Well sure! We are going to meet this boy and thank him for helping our daughter!" Missy agreed with her husband. Addison felt like the situation was already completely out of control. There was nothing she could do to change their minds.
"Then it's settled! Your mother and I will come pick you up after school by the ice cream shop and we will go meet this zombie family!" He informed. Missy nodding along as she pushed Addison towards the stairs.
"Exactly! So go get ready or you'll be late on your first day!" Missy instructed excitedly.
"But- I don't think-" Addison tried to intervene but then she was suddenly abandoned at the bottom of the stairs. She sighed and headed for her room upstairs to get ready for school.
Zed re-exited his home with a gloomy demeanor. Eliza hopped off broken down car to meet him at the bottom of his porch steps.
"Why do you look so glum?" She teased. "Did your human break up with you already?" Zed glared at her.
"I thought you weren't gonna discriminate against humans anymore." He said pointedly. Eliza waved him off.
"I'm not discriminating! Besides, I like her, not all humans." She clarified. Then she became more serious. "What's bothering you?" Zed sighed.
"I'm worried about her. The Zombie Patrol caught us together and her parents hate zombies." He raked his fingers through his hair. "I hope she's ok." He said more to himself. Eliza slapped a hand on his shoulder.
"She seems like a pretty smart girl. I'm sure she knows how to handle her parents." Eliza said, convinced by her own words. Zed nodded but couldn't help his concern.
"Zedka! Lizaka!" The two looked up to see the tall goofy zombie who completed their friend circle.
"Hey Bonzo! We're coming!" She called, smacking Zed's arm. "If you keep moping, it'll upset Bonzo." She said, narrowing her eye in warning. Zed chuckled and tried his best to push his concern to the back of his mind.
All the teens of Zombietown were gathering near the barrier, ready to start their first day at a new school with humans for the first time ever.
She left her house into the bright morning sunlight in the perfect little subdivision of Seabrook. Her parents waving goodbye to her and watched her join the other teens on their way to school.
"Addison!" She knew that voice. It was Bucky and he sounded annoyed. She turned in his direction and, sure enough, he was marching up to her.
"Hey Cuz." She greeted him in a dejected tone. Bucky's brows furrowed.
"What the hell happened?! I tried texting, calling, and got nothing! I've been worried sick!" He complained. She rolled her eyes and continued walking.
"I was recognized by one of Raven's goons and had to lay low in Zombietown for the night." She explained in a hushed voice. Bucky grabbed her arm to stop her.
"What?!" He asked in disbelief. "And you didn't call or text me?!"
Addison narrowed her eyes at her cousin. "I dropped my phone when I ran from that guy." She told him flatly. He barely seemed to be listening to her as he continued to ramble.
"You could have been killed with all those rabid zombies running around! And I'd feel completely guilty 'cause the only reason you were even out was to help me!" He ranted dramatically.
"Bucky, I'm fine! I ran into this guy and he helped me hide out till this morning." She explained, not realizing the dreamy look she was getting on her face. "He's sweet, and caring, and-" Bucky quickly cut her off.
"Wait. You met a guy, who is sweet and caring and, perfect? In Zombietown?!" He interrogated. Addison looked at him in shock from hearing it said out loud like that. "Addison, he's a zombie. That would never work out for you. You need to forget about him!" Bucky said supportively. Her best interest in mind. Certainly not his own agenda.
Addison felt like she'd gotten a blow to the gut. He was right. Maybe it couldn't work out. Maybe there couldn't be a someday for them. She nodded her head in agreement with him reluctantly. He gave her a pleased smile.
"Good! Now, let's go. Seabrook awaits!" He exclaimed as he lead the way towards the school. Addison shook her head at her exuberant cousin before solemnly following a few steps behind.
The fencing separating the entrances for humans and zombies didn't surprise the zombies. They assumed there would still be certain areas that were segregated from the start. But the sight seemed to shock Addison.
She'd managed to sneak away from her cousin, while he was distracted by some of his cheer fans, and hurried to the gate where she could see Zed and Eliza with a few other zombies.
"Zed!" She called just loud enough to get his attention. His head snapped in her direction and a bright smile illuminated his face as soon as he locked eyes with her. He jogged over.
"Hey!" He greeted.
"Hey. What's up with this fence?" She asked in concern, looking it over and running her fingers along the cold metal.
"Who knows. It could just be for the first day. It doesn't really matter." Zed shrugged. "Are you ok? What happened with your parents?" He changed the subject. She avoided looking directly at him.
"They want to meet you. Tonight." She said in a small voice.
"That's great!" He exclaimed excitedly. She glanced up at his wide grin. "I'll just win them over with my quick wit and charming smile!" Finishing his point off with a wink.
"No. Not great." She disagreed. "You're a zombie." It struck him what she was talking about.
"And they hate zombies." He finished for her, sighing as his head dropped in defeat. Her fingers laced into the links and she gripped them tightly.
"This is horrible. They'll ruin how you look at me. You're dad and sister'll never want to see me again. And you won't either." She murmured on quietly in her panic. The fencing between them rattling, ever so slightly, from her shaking hands. Zed placed his hands directly over hers through the wiring and gave them a squeeze.
"Hey. Everything's gonna be ok." He tried to calm her, offering a smile of reassurance. "Nothing could keep me from wanting to see you." He whispered, leaning in for only her to hear. She searched his eyes for any signs of doubt but only found sincerity and care. She relaxed and a small smile formed on her lips.
"Ok." She breathed.
"Hey!" A familiar voice called on the human side, drawing attention from everyone, human or zombie. Zed's head whipped up but Addison just intwined their fingers through the fence desperately. He glanced down at her briefly before they were ripped apart.
Bucky stood between them and Addison tried to move around him but his three henchmen, the Aceys, have her boxed in behind him.
"Hands off my cousin, Zombie." Bucky said dripping with hostility. Before Zed could even respond, Eliza and all the other zombies had gathered around him. Eliza yanked him back and stared down the dark haired human.
"You got a problem with my friends, Spirit Fingered Cheerfuk?" Eliza insulted harshly. Bucky was appalled.
"How dare you, Dead Eyed Freak! And they're jazz hands you prick!" Bucky snapped back. Both of them were nose to nose at the fence.
Zed and Addison caught each other's eyes in the chaos and silently agree that they need to defuse the situation.
Zed quickly grabbed Eliza by the shoulders and Addison forced past the Acey's to push her cousin back from the stockade. "Easy there Killer." Zed tried to calm his friend.
"Calm down Bucky! What's your problem!" Addison said with a glower. Bucky was fuming.
"My problem?! Your new 'friends' are a bunch of edicateless heathens!" He yelled in outrage.
"Oh, I'm the edicateless one? I'm just giving you a taste of your own medicine, you Swine!" Eliza shouted from across the divider.
"Eliza! Chill!" Zed warned.
"He started it!" She whined. Addison clenched her fists.
"That's the zombie who saved my life Bucky." She said in a low voice just for him to hear. "Or would you rather Raven had caught me?" She questions angrily. Bucky seemed at a loss for words for a moment, then his features hardened again. He stepped past her to be face to face with the tall zombie.
"Thanks for protecting her last night." He thanked Zed I enthusiastically. Zed grinned slightly.
"No problem!" He replied. Bucky's face twists in disgust.
"But don't think you're getting my blessing to be her 'friend'." He air quoted, referring to the fact that she acted like she like likes him. "If you ever touch my cousin again, it won't be pretty. Which, as you can see, is off-brand for me. Stay away from her, Freak." He threatened. Zed gulped.
Then suddenly Bucky snapped his fingers and he hugged his arms around Addison to pull her along, all the Acey's sticking their noses up as her follow close behind. Addison looked desperately at Zed, mouthing an 'I'm sorry' before she disappeared behind the school entrance doors.
Zed sighed and the crowd around him began to disperse. Bonzo clapped a hand on his shoulder supportively.
"Humans are bad, but cheerleaders are monsters." She said with a shake of her head. Zed sighed, then followed his friends into the school.