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August 31, 2015
Los Angeles, California

Zac swung the hospital bag over his shoulder and carefully picked up Eliza. "You ready, Nessa?" he asked.

"Yeah," Vanessa replied. She followed Zac out the door of the room and stepped into the elevator with him. Once they were on the ground floor, she glanced toward the window to see a group of paparazzi standing in the parking lot. "Babe..." she pointed to the paps. "I don't wanna go out..."

Zac looked to where Vanessa was pointing and sighed. "Well we have to. We already signed you out, and Eliza needs to get home and eat, and you need to rest. I'll tell them to back off."

"Okay." Vanessa still sounded uncertain.

Zac and Vanessa hurries outside and kept their heads down as the paps rushed toward them.

"Is it a boy or girl?"

"How long was Vanessa in labor?"

"What did you name her?"

Eliza began to cry as cameras flashed in her face.

"Get away, you assholes! You're scaring my daughter!" Zac was furious. How dare someone make his baby cry.

"Oh, Daddy has a temper!" one of the paps teased.

Zac silently cursed the paps while he headed to his car. Setting Eliza in her seat, he opened the door for Vanessa, then got into the drivers' seat and sped out of the parking lot. "You okay, Nessa?"

"Just pissed off," Vanessa replied. "The last thing I wanted after having a baby was to be surrounded by paps."

"I know. And poor Eliza was terrified. You don't flash cameras in a newborn's face. We should've bought her little sunglasses."

"Aww, that would've been cute, but I didn't expect the paps to be there. I wonder who called them."

"I have no idea. But whoever it is has no respect for new parents whatsoever."

...

Austin opened his Twitter app and looked at his timeline. "Hey, Nikki," he called. "Vanessa's mom tweeted that Vanessa had the baby. She apparently named her Eliza."

"I said I wanted juice, you bitch!" That was Aukki.

"Alright, Aukki. No need to give me that sour temper." Nikki filled a sippie cup with grape juice and gave it to Aukki. Turning to Austin, she said, "Eliza's a dumb name. He couldn't even bother to be creative like we were and think of something original."

"I know. And I bet Vanessa's gonna breastfeed, too. Gross shit. I remember I saw a woman breastfeeding in a restaurant back then and it was disgusting. Then everyone on Twitter hated on me and said 'Oh, BUTTler, boobs aren't for sex. Boobs are to feed babies.' 'Stop dissing mothers.' It was bullshit. Boobs should be for me to enjoy, not for some baby to suck."

"I know. That's why I didn't breastfeed Aukki. Besides, he needed flavor in his diet, so chocolate milk was a better option."

"Exactly. And look, here's pap pics of her. Eww, she's one ugly baby." Austin then tweeted "Aukki >>>> Eliza Efron" and "Eww, I bet Vanessa's breastfeeding. But hey, #lovetoallmothers. YOLFO."

...

Vanessa sat down on the couch and, taking Eliza, held her to her breast. "You eat, sweetie," she told her.

Surprisingly, Eliza listened to Vanessa.

"Aww, Zac, she's breastfeeding!" Vanessa called.

Zac walked into the room. "Aww, good girl, Ellie." He sat down beside Vanessa.

Instantly, Eliza stopped eating and began to cry.

"She wants Daddy," Vanessa said, handing Eliza to Zac and pulling her top back up.

"I think she needs her diaper changed. I'll go do that." Zac carried Eliza upstairs and put her on the changing table that, for now, was in his and Vanessa's bedroom. After Eliza slept through the night, they were going to move it to her room and put the newborn cradle in the garage so she could use her big girl crib.

"Alright, sweetheart. Let's get your diaper changed." Zac changed Eliza's diaper and took her back downstairs, where he laid on the couch and placed her on his chest. "How about you take a nap with Daddy?"

Eliza closed her eyes and relaxed against Zac's firm chest.

"If you're gonna be with Eliza, I'm gonna go take a shower," Vanessa said. "Then I'll sleep for a little while."

"Okay. Sounds good." Zac motioned for Vanessa to come over to him. Once she did, he kissed her lips. "You have a good time relaxing, okay?"

"I will. Thanks, babe." Vanessa smiled and headed upstairs.

...

Three hours later, Zac awoke to the sound of Eliza crying. Sitting up, he cradled her and spoke softly. "Yeah, I know, sweetie. I think you need to eat again. Let me go up and wake Mommy so she can feed you." Zac carried Eliza upstairs and into the master bedroom, where Vanessa was lying down watching TV. "Nessa, our daughter is hungry again."

"Alright. Come here, Elle." Vanessa propped herself up with pillows and, yanking the stretchy fabric of her tank top down, put Eliza on her breast.

Eliza started to cry.

"Honey, I thought you were hungry?" Zac said.

"I don't think she likes breast milk," Vanessa concluded. "Or she just doesn't like me."

"Aww, she likes you. You're her mommy." Zac took Eliza and kissed her forehead. "Sweetie, please let Mommy feed you." He pulled her socks off her small feet. "There you go, cutie. It's summer. You don't need to wear socks. Aww, Nessa, look at her tiny feet."

"Aww, she's adorable." Vanessa was smiling. "I'm proud that we made her." She reached out to take her daughter again and attempted to get her to latch onto her breast once more.

Once Zac's hand was resting on Eliza's tiny arm, she began to eat, comforted in knowing that her daddy was right beside her. After she was all finished, Zac grabbed his phone out of his pocket and took a picture of Vanessa with the baby.

Zac and Vanessa spend about an hour with Eliza before she fell asleep.

"I'll go put her in her cradle," Zac offered, taking Eliza and carrying her over to the baby cradle.

"Babe, can you come rest with me?" asked Vanessa.

"Sure." Climbing under the covers, Zac wrapped his arms around Vanessa and smiled as she cuddled into his chest. He gently rubbed her back until she fell asleep, then took his phone and, turning the volume down so as not to bother either Vanessa or Eliza, started to play a game of Temple Run. After he was finished, he decided to look at Twitter. Many people were congratulating him on his new daughter, and both him and Eliza were trending topics. However, in the midst of all the celebration, he noticed the one person who was trying to create drama: Austin. He had posted several tweets hating on Eliza's name, saying Aukki was better looking than she was, and calling Vanessa a slut for having a baby.

Shaking his head, Zac put his phone aside and ran his fingers through Vanessa's dark curls. She must be exhausted, he thought, kissing the top of her head.

...

An hour later, Zac climbed slowly out of bed and headed to the kitchen. Pulling a box of pasta from the pantry, he began to boil water in a pot. He had decided that since Vanessa was sleepy, and still recovering from having the baby, that he would cook that evening.

Just as Zac was putting the garlic bread in the oven, he heard footsteps coming down the steps.

"Zaccy?" Vanessa questioned, glancing around until she caught a glimpse of Zac. "Oh, there you are. What are you making?" She crept up behind him and wound her arms around his waist.

"Pasta and garlic bread," Zac replied, twisting to the side to kiss Vanessa's lips. "Is our baby still sleeping?"

Vanessa nodded. "She seems to be feeling pretty tired."

"Aww. Well it'll take her a couple days to adjust to life. Why don't you go sit on the couch? I'll bring out a tray with your dinner on it."

"Okay." Vanessa walked out into the living room and, wrapping herself in a blanket, sat on the couch and pulled the footrest closer to her so she could put her feet up.

In a little while, Zac appeared with a tray of food. "There you go, baby girl."

"Thanks." Vanessa began to eat.

Just then, Eliza's cries were heard from upstairs.

"Let me go get our daughter," said Zac, rushing to get up to his and Vanessa's room."Hey, Eliza. Come to Daddy." He scooped her up carefully into his arms and carried her down to the living room. "Here. She can lie in between us on the couch while we eat. Let me just get some food for me." Setting Eliza down beside Vanessa, Zac walked into the kitchen and got some dinner for himself. When he returned, Eliza tried to look in his direction. "Aww, hi sweetie. Do you wanna go for a walk with Daddy tomorrow? I'll get out the stroller and we can go walk around the park or something to give Mommy a rest."

Eliza smiled at Zac's voice.

"Babe, do you wanna give her a bottle after we finish eating?" Vanessa queried. "I'm gonna set up the baby bath for her."

"Sure, I can feed her," Zac agreed. Once he finished his dinner, he cleaned up the dishes and began heating up a bottle of formula for Eliza. "Alright, honey, let Daddy feed you." Walking back into the living room, he lifted his daughter into his arms, her head propped up on his elbow, and held the bottle to her tiny lips.

"I'm gonna get the baby bath ready then." Vanessa stood up, took her plate to the kitchen, then headed upstairs. "You can bring her up when she's all finished."

"Okay. I'll do that." Seeing Eliza's blue eyes begin to close, Zac started to rub her feet gently in attempt to keep her awake so she could finish eating and hopefully sleep that night with minimum interruptions.

Eliza drank a little more of her bottle, then spit it out and started to cry a little. Zac placed her on his shoulder and patted her back until she burped, then carried her upstairs. "Okay, Nessa, here's the baby."

"Where's my little girl?" Vanessa reached out to take Eliza.

Zac placed Eliza into Vanessa's arms. "Here she is. I'm gonna go in our room and have a shower while you give her a bath. What time do you think she should sleep tonight?"

"Eight. That should be a good time for a newborn."

"I agree. And don't forget that my parents are coming by tomorrow around lunch to see how she's doing. Then after they leave I wanna take her for a walk at the park."

"Okay. Sounds good." Vanessa grabbed some baby soap and a washcloth.

...

An hour later, Vanessa was breastfeeding Eliza while Zac was putting some covers in her cradle. It was bedtime for her, and for Zac and Vanessa, too, since they hadn't slept well in the hospital the night before.

"Come here, Ellie," Zac said when Elisa finished eating. He carefully took her from Vanessa and sat in the rocking chair that was in the corner of the room. Once he had rocked her to sleep, he placed her in the cradle, kissed her forehead, and climbed into bed next to Vanessa. "Let's get some rest, Nessa. Good night."

"Good night."

After sharing a kiss, Zac and Vanessa cuddled up together under the covers and settled down for a few hours of sleep before Eliza needed to be tended to.
August 30, 2015
Los Angeles, California

A very pregnant Vanessa was sitting on the couch in a camisole and cotton shorts, trying her best to stay cool between the heat of the summer and being pregnant. The baby was kicking furiously, and she was feeling a little bit of cramping, making her even more uncomfortable.

"Eliza, sweetie. Go easy on Mommy," she said, putting a hand over her stomach.

It was then that she felt a burst of liquid flow down her leg. "Babe!" she called. "Zac! Babe!" She stood up.

"What is it?" Zac, who was outside barbecuing, queried as he stepped back in the house.

"My water broke." Vanessa tried to remain calm.

"Oh my gosh. Get in the car. I'll turn off the grill and grab the hospital bag and my keys and meet you out there." He dashed back out the door, switched the grill to "off," then flew back inside, allowing the door to slam behind him. Once there, he darted up the stairs, took what he needed, and rushed out to the car, where Vanessa was already sitting. "Let's go, Nessa."

"Hurry, Zac. It hurts. It hurts..." Vanessa moaned.

"I'll drive as fast as I can." Speeding out of the driveway, Zac whipped around the block and nearly exceeded the speed limit as he raced to the hospital. Within fifteen minutes, he was pulling into a parking space. "Alright, let's go." He grabbed the bag and walked with Vanessa into the emergency room. "She's in labor," he told the nurse that was behind the counter.

"Okay. Take her right up to the maternity floor, which is floor five, and go to the nurses' station. They'll set her up with a room and get her doctor in to look at her," the nurse told him.

"Alright. Thank you." Zac rushed Vanessa into the elevator. Once on the fifth floor, he walked briskly to the nurses' station. "She's in labor. She needs a room."

"Okay." A brown-haired nurse walked over to Zac and Vanessa. "Follow me." She led Vanessa into a vacant birthing room. "And what's your name?"

"Vanessa Anne Efron," Vanessa answered.

"And your birthday?"

"December 14, 1988."

"Okay. Let me go get another nurse to punch you into the computer and go grab some paperwork. I'll be right back. You can get changed if you want now. There's a hospital gown on the counter, or if you have a t-shirt or nightgown, you can wear that. But you will need to remove your bra and panties, and no pants, obviously, so once you change, you can lie down and cover your legs with the blanket."

Vanessa nodded in acknowledgment and, when the nurse left, had Zac help her into one of his t-shirts they had packed in the bag. After she was changed, she lay down and got under the covers.

The nurse knocked soon after Vanessa was finished.

"Come in," Vanessa called.

"Okay. So I'll need you to fill out these papers quick while I go and get an IV started for you. I see in your records that your doctor is Dr. Warington, so I'm just gonna go page her while I'm getting the IV. My name's Catherine, by the way. I'll be your nurse for today."

By the time twenty minutes passed, Vanessa was hooked up to an IV with Zac feeding her ice, Catherine preparing a cloth to wipe the baby off with when she was born, and Dr. Warington telling her she was four centimeters dilated. "It's gonna be a little while," she added. "So Zac, if you want any food or drinks, you can tell me and I can quick run down to the cafeteria to get them. Vanessa won't need me until she's about seven centimeters."

"No, thanks. I'm fine," Zac assured. "I'm just gonna call my mom now if you don't mind."

"Oh, absolutely. Go right ahead."

Zac took his phone from his pocket and dialed his parents' number. "Hey, Mom?"

"Yes, Zac?" Starla responded.

"We're at the hospital. Vanessa's in labor."

"That's great! How's she doing?"

"She's good. She's only four centimeters dilated so it's gonna be a little bit of a wait, but I'll call you again when the baby's born and she's settled into a regular room."

"Okay. Tell her to try to stay calm and think of holding her baby if she starts getting nervous."

"Alright, I will, Mom. Thanks."

"You're welcome. I'll talk to you soon. Bye."

"Bye, Mom." Zac hung up the phone.

...

Two hours later, Vanessa was ten centimeters dilated and was experiencing intense labor pain because of it.

"Alright," Dr. Warington said. "Now you need to start pushing. Just stay calm, take a deep breath, then push as hard as you can."

Vanessa did as the doctor said.

"Good. Now try again."

"You can do it, Nessa," Zac encouraged, holding onto Vanessa's hand. "I'm right here.

Vanessa pushed again.

"Keep going," the doctor urged.

Vanessa pushed five more times.

"There you go! She's crowning," Dr. Warington told Vanessa. "Just a couple more times and you'll be done."

Vanessa gasped for air as she put all her might into the final two pushes.

The cry of a newborn filled the room.

"Let me see her," said Zac.

"Do you wanna cut her cord?" the nurse asked.

Zac nodded and, taking the scissors, cut the baby's cord. He then helped Catherine wipe her off and wrap her in a blanket. "Aww, sweetie, don't cry. Daddy's here." He cradled his daughter in his arms and felt tears of happiness spring into his eyes as he sat back down beside Vanessa. "Good job, Nessa." He kissed Vanessa. "Look at baby Eliza."

Eliza, who had stopped crying as soon as Zac held her, looked around with her deep blue eyes.

"Can I hold her?" requested Vanessa, a huge smile spreading across her face.

"Sure." Zac handed Eliza to Vanessa.

As soon as Zac handed her over, Eliza began to cry again and look toward Zac.

"That's your mommy," Zac explained. "You don't need to cry. She loves you, too."

"Will you be breastfeeding or giving her formula?" Catherine asked.

"I would like to try breastfeeding," answered Vanessa.

"Alright." The nurse gave Vanessa instructions on how to breastfeed, then left the room with the doctor so she could have some privacy.

"She looks just like you," Zac remarked, holding out his finger for Eliza to grab.

"But with your eyes," Vanessa added, putting Eliza to her breast. However, she wouldn't breastfeed. She just looked toward Zac and cried. "Can you try to calm her down?" Vanessa asked, handing Eliza back to Zac.

Taking his daughter, Zac kissed her forehead. "How about if we get you dressed first?" he carefully set Eliza in the baby cradle, then pulled out a diaper and a pink top with a ruffled skirt from the bag. After dressing her, he picked her up again and handed her to Vanessa.

Again, Eliza cried and refused to breastfeed.

"We're gonna have to just give her a bottle for now if she won't cooperate," Vanessa said, shaking her head. "Can you get me one from the bag?"

"I'll have to find a microwave to heat up water for it in," Zac spoke. "So I'll take it and mix some formula together, then come back."

"Okay."

Zac walked out of the room, returning a little while later with a bottle full of formula. "Here you go, Nessa."

Vanessa held the bottle to Eliza's mouth, but Eliza still just cried. "She won't eat, babe. Can you try? She seems to like you better."

"Aww, I'm sure she loves you, too. But if you want me to try, you can give her to me."

Vanessa passed the baby to Zac.

"Hey, cutie pie. You need to eat." Zac took the bottle from Vanessa and watched as Eliza hungrily drank the warm milk from it.

"Why will she only settle down for you?" Vanessa asked.

"I don't know. Are you feeling nervous holding her? Maybe you just need to relax a little." When Eliza was finished drinking as much of her bottle as she could, he handed her to Vanessa. "Just relax, baby girl."

Vanessa took a deep breath and tried to calm herself. Within a couple minutes, Eliza was calm.

"There you go, hun." Zac lovingly rubbed Vanessa's shoulder, then took one of Eliza's tiny feet in his hands. "Aww, look how small. She's such a petite little girl like you."

Just then, the nurse came back into the room. "Can you guys please fill out this birth certificate?" she handed a paper and a pen to Zac. "And if I could see your baby for a minute, can I go weigh and measure her? And I also wanna get her handprints and footprints."

"Okay." Vanessa gave Eliza to the nurse and watched as Zac filled out the birth certificate.

When Eliza came back to Zac and Vanessa, crying after being held by someone other than Zac, it was announced that she was only six pounds and fifteen inches long. Zac and Vanessa were then told to watch her weight since she was so tiny and to be especially careful with her.

In another few minutes, Dr. Warington came in to ask Vanessa if she was feeling okay. Once she was assured that she was fine, she offered to take Eliza to the nursery. However, Zac refused, insisting that he would sit and rock his daughter himself. She would only be little once, so he wanted to get the most out of her newborn weeks.

Once Vanessa was moved to a regular room, a rocking chair was brought in. Zac sat there and, cuddling Eliza, softly sang to her as she fell asleep in his arms.

"How's she doing?" yawned Vanessa, who had changed into a pair of comfy pajama pants and a tank top and was now resting under the covers of the bed.

"She's sleeping," Zac replied. "And I think you need to sleep, too. You seem tired."

"Come lie down with me," Vanessa said, moving aside. "You can put Eliza down in the cradle."

"Okay." Zac laid his new daughter in the baby cradle the hospital provided them with and kissed her head, then took his phone from his pocket and took a picture of her. Getting into bed with Vanessa, he sent the photo to his parents and wrote "Meet Eliza Grace Efron."

A minute later, Starla responded and said "Aww, she's too precious. She looks just like Vanessa! When can I come see her?"

"I'll call you in a little while," Zac wrote. "Vanessa, Eliza and I are all gonna take a nap for a couple hours, then you can come see her." Once he sent that, he put his phone aside and wrapped his arms around Vanessa. Kissing her, he murmured, "We made a really nice baby, didn't we?"

Vanessa laced her fingers with Zac's as she nodded and smiled, then glanced over at her baby daughter before settling down to sleep.
May 13, 2015
Los Angeles, California

Zac tried to balance five different packages as he walked into the house after his final day of promoting his recent film, The Fallen. This was to be his last role for a while, as he was taking time off in order to help raise his daughter, and it would be the last time he would produce a movie for the time being as well. His fans were sorely disappointed, but were happy to hear that family was his priority in life.

"Are those more packages from fans?" Vanessa, who was resting on the couch, queried. Ever since word got out that Zac and Vanessa were to have a baby girl, Zac fans had been sending tons of gift packages filled with anything from baby clothing to bubble bath sets for Vanessa and cologne for Zac.

"Yup." Zac replied. He set the boxes down in front of Vanessa and began to help her open them.

"Aww, look at this outfit!" Vanessa exclaimed as she took a purple flower print sundress from one of the boxes. "And look at these little shoes!" She held up a pair of matching purple sandals. "Aww, this will be adorable."

"And look at this!" added Zac, emptying out the box that he had opened. "A pack of diapers, a stuffed dog, some handmade baby booties, and a little t-shirt that said 'Daddy's Little Princess.'"

"I guess your fans are assuming she's gonna be a daddy's girl," smiled Vanessa.

The last three packages altogether contained more clothes, another bath set for Vanessa, more cologne for Zac, more diapers, a pack of pacifiers, a baby bath towel that had 'Baby Efron' embroidered on it, and a rubber duck.

"Wow, I'll have an overload of cologne by the time this baby is born," Zac laughed.

"Well, you have a lot of loyal Zattackers. And I'm proud of you for that. You definitely deserve it." Vanessa leaned over to kiss Zac's lips.

"Aww, thanks, Nessa." Zac smiled. "Now, let's get this stuff away. Dylan's gonna be here soon to help me paint the baby's room.

"Oh, that's right," Vanessa remembered. "I gotta put out the snacks we got for you guys. I'm sure you'll take a snack break at some point. And then he's staying for dinner, right?"

"Yes, he is."

"Okay. I was planning to make a chicken and rice casserole tonight, and I was going to have some rolls and butter with it. Will he be okay with that?"

"Yeah, he'll be fine with it," Zac assured. "He's not really a picky eater." He began packing all the things back into the boxes so he could carry the gifts upstairs with minimum difficulty.

"Okay, then." Vanessa stood up and walked into the kitchen.

...

May 17, 2015
Los Angeles, California

"Nessa, come outside," Zac invited. "I wanna show you the idea I have for our baby's playground."

"Just a second," Vanessa responded. She slowly got up from the couch in her and Zac's bedroom and slipped on a pair of flip-flops. "Okay. We can go now."

"Alright." Zac led Vanessa downstairs and out the back door.

"Surprise!"

A look of surprise crossed Vanessa's face as she saw her friends, Stella, and Starla standing by the pool. Pink balloons were tied to the beach chairs and a pile of gifts was on the picnic table that was just outside of the pool gate.

"This is your baby shower," Zac explained. "Go have something to eat." He motioned toward the folding table he had set up, which was filled with sandwiches, chips, and pitchers of fresh lemonade.

"Aww, thank you guys so much!" Vanessa exclaimed. She hugged Zac first, then Starla, Stella, and Dylan's girlfriend Courtney. After that, she greeted her friends Laura New, Monique Coleman, and Brittany Snow.

"How's Mom doing?" Vanessa asked Stella.

"She's still angry about you having a baby. But I'm excited to be an aunt," Stella said. "Do you have any names picked out?"

"We're still deciding," answered Vanessa. "We probably won't announce our choice to anyone until after she's born."

"Okay. Just for a suggestion, I like the name Mackenzie Kaelin."

"That sounds kind of cool, but Zac wouldn't like it. I wanted to name her Marisol Paige and he said he hated it because it sounded too much like a typical celebrity name. So we'll probably end up going with something classy, but not over the top. Like I had suggested Emmaline, but he thought it sounded too much like a name the royal family in England would use."

"Oh. Well I like unique names."

"Me too, but I also like some classy traditional names, which is what we'll need to use because that's the only type of name that Zac likes."

"You could name her Elizabeth. That's what David and I would've named our daughter if we had one," Starla put in. "But we had two boys, so we never got to use it."

"Well you were very lucky to have those boys," smiled Vanessa. "They're both children worth being proud of. I hope this baby will turn out just as good as Zac and Dylan did."

"Aww, I'm sure she will," Starla assured. "You guys will be great parents."

Vanessa smiled. "I hope so." She took a sandwich from the platter. "Mmm, tuna. Good choice, babe."

Zac stepped behind Vanessa and put his hands on her shoulders. "So, whenever you're done eating and talking with everyone, you can open your gifts."

"Okay. I'll be ready in a little while," Vanessa responded.

"Well take your time. We're not in a hurry."

Vanessa spent some more time chatting with her guests, then sat down by the pile of gifts. By the time she was finished opening them, she had five more baby outfits, three new bottles, two containers of formula, two passifiers, a fuzzy pink diaper bag, a hat that Starla has knitted for her granddaughter, a newborn stroller, diapers, and a set of pink sheets with a matching fuzzy blanket.

"So how big do you think she'll be?" Laura asked Vanessa.

"Not very," laughed Vanessa. "I'm five months along and my baby bump still isn't very big. Plus, the doctor said she'd probably be small."

"Aww, well she'll be cute I'm sure. Who are you hoping she'll look more like?"

"Well, I don't really care, but Zac wants her to look like me. If I was having a boy, if want him to look like Zac, though."

"Guys, if anyone wants to go swimming, feel free to," Zac invited. "The pool's open."

"Ness, come swimming with me," Stella begged, going over to Vanessa and pulling her hand.

"Okay. I'll go. Let me just go change." Vanessa went into the house, returning a few minutes later in a nice black one piece swimsuit that had a fancy cutout design on the back. She was too self-conscious to swim in a bikini because of her pregnant stomach, so she opted for cute maternity swimwear instead.

"I'm gonna take these gifts inside," Zac announced.

"I'll help," offered Starla. "I don't really wanna swim."

"Okay. Thanks, Mom. The bedding, diapers, and clothes can all go up in the baby's room. The stroller I'll take in the garage, and the bottles can go in the kitchen with the formula."

"Alright."

"You can look at the baby's room, too. Dylan and I painted it the other day and hung the curtains. Now we just need to buy a crib and a couple lamps and get the closet all set up."

"Well if you need help, you can always ask me." Starla grabbed the baby clothes and walked upstairs with Zac. "The room looks great!" she exclaimed as she stepped in the doorway.

"Thanks. It took almost all day to decorate it," Zac said. "I hope our baby likes pink."

"I'm sure she will. Especially if she grows up with it," Starla laughed.

"Yeah. Vanessa insisted on making everything for the baby pink, so yeah...she'll get used to it, I guess."

...

Later that night, Zac and Vanessa were lying in bed, Zac's arms fastened tightly around Vanessa and Vanessa's head resting on his chest.

"You know," Zac said, reaching down to rub Vanessa's baby bump, "I've been thinking, and I really like the name Eliza for our baby."

"You think we should name her that?"

"Yeah. That is, if you agree."

"Well earlier today your mom said something to me about liking the name Elizabeth, and Eliza is part of that, so I think it sounds perfect for the circumstances. But babe, I don't like the middle name Lucille you had picked out. Eliza is a beautiful name, but I want something plainer to go with it. Eliza Lucille just sounds like too much of a mouthful."

"What about Eliza Faith? Or Eliza Anne?"

"I like Eliza Grace," Vanessa decided after a few minutes of silence.

Zac considered for a moment. "Eliza Grace...I love it," he decided. "Then if you wanted to call her something more modern or if she didn't like having a classic name, some possible nicknames would be Elle, Ellie, Liz, Izzy, and Gracie."

"I like Elle for a nickname. It sounds sophisticated. But Ellie would be cute for when she's little, and I can see her future friends calling her Izzy. It's perfect."

"So we both agree on the name, then?"

Vanessa nodded. "Yes."

Zac kissed Vanessa's lips. "I can't wait to meet baby Eliza," he murmured, rubbing Vanessa's stomach again. "She's gonna be the most spoiled Daddy's girl ever."
April 30, 2015
Los Angeles, California

Zac and Vanessa walked into the doctors' office. That was the day they would find out whether they were having a boy or a girl. By that time, Vanessa had gotten done with morning sickness, and her baby bump was beginning to show, causing her to, much to her dismay, be forced to remove her belly stud.

In early February, Zac and Vanessa had told the news of the new family member to their parents. David and Starla had been delighted, and were very anxious to meet their first grandchild. Greg was excited, but wasn't allowed to show his emotions because of Gina, who would've slapped him across the face if he even just smiled. She was livid with the idea of Vanessa having Zac's baby.

"What? You're having a baby with him? What's your problem? You're supposed to be representing my country, and that baby will be nothing but a big embarrassment," Gina ranted. "I mean, come on, the father has YOLO tattooed on his hand. How mature is that?"

"Says the woman who acts like a sixteen year old on Twitter," Zac spoke. "I see you tweeting emojis and laughing about stupid stuff on there all the time. Not to mention you complain about drama on there when Austin, who you love, was the one causing it."

"No. Austin didn't cause the drama! YOUR fans did, Zac. They would always tweet me hating on Austin and I couldn't take it anymore!"

"Well then you basically just admitted that Austin did cause the drama. My fans wouldn't be tweeting you warnings about him if he wasn't an asshole. You just need to stop acting like a high school girl."

"I'm only giving people a good impression of my country," protested Gina. "I need to look happy and proud all the time. If people see me laughing and smiling, they'll have only positive thoughts about my country and culture."

"Yeah, you care about your culture, yet you were offended when someone on Twitter mentioned balut to you. Just so you know, I ate that, and I'm not even from your country."

"You tried it so you could steal Vanessa's fans! You wanted my country to love you instead of her! Then you went and sponsered a Filipino clothing brand, you advertise those stupid tan pants from it all the time in America, and you had that lame fan conference! And you expect me to accept that Vanessa's having your baby?"

"Mom, Zac wears those pants because he likes them. It was a gift for sponsoring the brand. And I was actually the one who ordered him more of those for his birthday gift, so I supported our country by buying stuff from it," Vanessa cut in. "And secondly, he didn't steal my fans. A lot of them love both of us, and if they don't, they have a good reason, because I was a bitch when I was dating Austin. And last of all, you need to accept the fact that I'm having this baby."

"No! Austin made you a better person! He brought you closer to your sister and everything!"

"Stella and I have always been close. You're the one that ruined it because you started hating on me and Zac's relationship."

"Don't accuse me of stuff I didn't do! You need to learn some respect to your elders. And just so you know, I don't want to have anything to do with that baby! Especially if it turns out like the father! A true famewhore!"

Vanessa forced herself to hold back tears.

Wrapping an arm around Vanessa, Zac said, "I think we need to go now. Thanks for having us over." He reached forward to shake Greg's hand, then offered it to Gina, who just about slapped it away.

"Let's go," Zac said his wife.

So that hadn't gone well, but Zac and Vanessa tried their best to forget about the fight with Gina and focus on the joy they would feel when they held their baby for the first time.

"Good morning. You guys can come on back," a nurse told Zac and Vanessa. "Just follow me."

Zac and Vanessa followed the nurse into an empty exam room. "Make yourselves comfortable. The doctor will be in shortly." She then walked out.

In a few minutes, Dr. Warington walked in. "Okay." She sat down and brushed a piece of hair off her face. "How are you doing, Vanessa? I see you have Zac with you this time."

"I'm good," replied Vanessa.

"And problems or anything we need to be concerned about?"

"Not really, but I just have a question. How much should I be eating? Some days I feel really tired like I did last month, and I'm just not in the mood to eat. Will this affect the baby?"

"Yes, it will. Even if you're not hungry, you need to force yourself to eat something. Preferably a fruit or vegetable, or something nutritious for both you and the baby. You're a healthy woman, but you need to remember that what you eat has to contribute to the baby's health as well. Now your baby will be fine for now, but just think about forcing yourself to eat at least a small helping of something in the future. Your baby will most likely be smaller than average, considering you and Zac are both on the short side, so you just need to make sure he or she doesn't turn out too tiny."

"Okay. I'll try."

"Here's a list of some good foods to have while you're in this stage of pregnancy." The doctor picked up a paper from the counter and handed it to Vanessa.

"Thanks," Vanessa said, putting the pamphlet in her purse.

"Alright, well if that's all you wanted to discuss today, we can head over to the ultrasound room and take a look. Now as you already know, today I'll be able to tell whether your baby's a boy or a girl. Would you like me to tell you, or would you rather be surprised?"

"We both wanna know," Vanessa answered.

"Okay. Let's go take a look, then." Dr. Warington walked with Zac and Vanessa over to the ultrasound room and, once Vanessa was lying down and Zac was seated in a comfortable chair, got out the supplies she needed. "Okay, Vanessa, roll up your top a little bit, please, so I can see your baby bump."

Vanessa did as the doctor said.

"Okay." The doctor rubbed the cold gel onto Vanessa's stomach, then took the scanner and moved it around until the baby appeared on the screen. "Your baby girl looks good," she announced.

"It's a girl?" A huge smile spread across Zac's face. A little daddy's girl! He had waited for this moment for a very long time.

Vanessa smiled back at Zac.

"Yes, it is," the doctor confirmed. "And if you look here, you'll see her head, and arms, and legs, and tiny hands and feet. She looks very comfortable right now. Let me just check the heartbeat and make sure everything's okay with that." She rolled her chair over to the counter that was along the wall and grabbed a stethoscope. Returning to Vanessa, she placed it on her stomach and listened carefully. "It sounds good."

"Could I hear it?" Zac requested.

"Sure!"

Zac made his way over to the doctor and took the earpieces from the stethoscope so that he could hear his daughter's little heart beating. Again, he smiled, and reached over to squeeze Vanessa's hand.

...

"I like Juliana Grace," said Vanessa. She and Zac were sitting on the living room couch talking about different names they could use for their baby girl. "Oh, or Olivia Roseanne."

"I don't really care for Roseanne. It kind of makes me picture an old woman. Roseanna would be a better fit for a baby, I think," Zac responded.

"Zac, Roseanne is a classy name. But if you don't like it, we can take it off the list. Why don't you tell me your top five names?" Vanessa suggested.

"My top five? I only have three, but the three names are Laura Marie, Vanessa Elizabeth, and Eliza Lucille."

"We're not naming the baby after me," Vanessa told Zac firmly. "I don't wanna have two Zacs and two Vanessas in the house, and we already decided that if we had a baby boy someday, we'd name him after you. I like Laura Marie, though. And Eliza is a cute name, too."

"Okay. Well what are your top names?"

"Juliana Grace, Olivia Roseanne, which you already said you don't like, Marisol Paige, Brianna Louise, and Emmaline Rachel."

"Alright...Juliana Grace, I like. Olivia is okay, but I hate Roseanne, Marisol Paige sounds like we're trying too hard, no offense, I love Brianna Louise, and I like Emmaline Rachel, but it kind of sounds too much like English royalty."

"Well what do you think we should do? I kind of want to narrow our choices down to three names so we don't have as hard of a time picking a final one when it's closer to my due date."

"My favorite name I have in mind is Eliza Lucille, if that helps."

"Okay. My two favorites are Marisol Paige and Brianna Louise."

"Well I don't like Marisol Paige," Zac's voice was gentle, but firm.

"What about Marisol Grace? Or Juliana Paige?" Vanessa suggested.

"Juliana Paige is okay. I just don't like the name Marisol. It sounds like parasol. I want our baby to have something that doesn't sound like a crazy celebrity name. I mean, Marisol's not as bad as Apple, like that one lady named her kid, but still...I want a real classy name for our baby. Like Eliza or Roseanna."

"I also love the nickname Jenny," Vanessa put in. "But I don't care for Jennifer."

"Well I don't like Jenny as a whole name, but it's a cute nickname."

"Yeah, I don't really like it as a whole name, either. I guess we need to pick something else."

After half an hour, Zac and Vanessa had their name options narrowed down to Juliana Paige, Eliza Lucille, and Brianna Louise.

"Okay, I think we should just leave our discussion at this for today," said Zac. "We can think about these names and pick a final one when the time gets closer. What about we decide how we want to design our daughter's room?"

"Alright. Well, I want to paint it pink. Like maybe hot pink walls and a baby pink trim?"

"Yeah, that would work. And we can buy a baby cradle for our room for when she's little, then a regular crib to put in her bedroom for when she sleeps through the night."

"And we need to buy her cute newborn clothes! This is gonna be so much fun!" Vanessa exclaimed.

"Well, you can do the baby clothes shopping and I'll do the crib shopping. Sound good?"

Vanessa nodded.

"Alright. And I'll do the painting. Dylan will come help me out with that, I'm sure, so you don't need to worry about any of that. And maybe when we pick out her name, we can paint it in dark pink above her crib."

"I don't know if I like the whole name up there. Maybe just the first letter of her name."

"Yeah, we can do that," agreed Zac.

"And also, this doesn't have anything to do with the room, but please try not to hog the baby when she's born. I know you're excited and it's tempting and all, but I really want a chance to bond with her, too."

"I'll try not to," Zac promised.

"Thanks. I want to breastfeed, so mealtime will be more of a mommy daughter thing. I'll still let you give her bottles a few times a week, though, since I know you wanna feed her, but for the most part, I'd like to nurse. I heard it's healthier for babies if they have breast milk, anyway."

"Oh, you're not gonna feed her chocolate milk like Nikki and Austin did with Aukki?" joked Zac.

"Hell no. I want our baby to be healthy." Vanessa paused before saying, "I'm gonna go up and take a shower now. I'll be back in a little bit."

"Alright, Nessa."

Vanessa stood up and made her way up the stairs. After locking herself in the bathroom, she turned on the water and let it warm up.

...

Twenty minutes later, Vanessa stepped into the bedroom and took off her bathrobe as she grabbed her pajamas. It was then that she heard the door open. "Zac! What are you doing?" She quickly covered herself up with her robe again.

"I came in to get my phone," Zac replied. "Why are you acting embarrassed? I've seen you naked before."

"But Zac, my body's different now. I look fat and I have big saggy boobs, my thighs are getting chubby...you don't wanna see me like this." She started to cry.

"Aww, Nessa." Zac took Vanessa into his arms. "I love you for who you are, not what type of body you have. You're pregnant; I don't expect you to be an anorexic model."

"But I hate my body. I don't want all this extra weight and I don't want saggy boobs. And on top of that, my face is breaking out in acne."

"Nessa, listen. Your breasts need to change so that you can nurse properly. But they'll go back to normal once the baby is done breastfeeding. And you can always use special soap on your face. Baby girl, it's just what you need to go through if you want kids."

"But I feel like shit, I look like shit...I hate this. I feel nauseous off and on, I keep getting headaches, I'm tired...when will this be over?"

"As my mom told me, it won't be over for eighteen years, and even then, only the work ends. You still have that feeling of worry and desire to protect your kids. She said that parenthood changes your life forever. You won't always have time to fix your hair and do your makeup or have workouts. It's just what comes with having children. I'm taking a year off of work to be with you and our baby, and I'm willing to give up some of my muscle for it. Our daughter is more important to me than having abs or great hair."

"But it's just hard for me...you're not a woman. You don't understand about hair and being acne and stuff like I do."

"Nessa, you wanted this baby as much as I did. You need to try your best to put your needs and wants aside and put our daughter first. It's just what parents have to do."

"I guess you're right," Vanessa decided eventually. "But I'd appreciate it if you knocked from now on, because this doesn't change the fact that I'm self-conscious right now."

"Okay. I will, baby girl," promised Zac. He held Vanessa for another minute before kissing her and leaving the room. Wandering over to the vacant bedroom they had planned to give their daughter, he stepped in the doorway and looked around. It would be perfect for a baby. He thought of putting up pink curtains over the windows, and putting a changing table in the far left corner. Then he could take the doors off her closet and put up strands of beads as a covering instead, and a tall lamp could go in the corner by the door....it would be perfect. Baby Eliza, he thought to himself. I think that name would fit her the best. I just have to try to convince Vanessa about that now.
November 23, 2014
Miami, Florida

Vanessa tossed her iPhone aside, and, burying her face in the covers, began to cry. She had just started with her time of the month the day before, which was so much more than just a simple annoyance in her life. It meant that she wasn't pregnant. Still. After months of almost daily sex, nothing had happened. And, to make it worse, she had decided to watch YouTube videos of babies crawling, smiling, and being rocked to sleep. That, of course, made her feel a strong pang of jealousy and desire to have a baby of her own.

"Hey, baby girl, I'm here," Zac announced a few minutes later. However, when he saw Vanessa crying, the smile faded off his face and worry instantly overtook him. "Aw, sweetie, what's wrong?" He sat down on the bed beside Vanessa and gently rubbed her back.

"I...I want a baby," Vanessa sobbed. "But I'm still not pregnant."

"Aw, honey, don't cry," Zac soothed, stroking Vanessa's hair. "You'll get there soon enough. We'll have a baby eventually."

Vanessa crawled into Zac's lap. "But I'm starting to worry that I'll never be able to get pregnant. There's something wrong with me."

"Aww, Nessa, nothing's wrong with you. Sometimes it just takes a while. But I promise that we'll have a baby before we're thirty."

...

January 21, 2015
Los Angeles, California

Vanessa smiled as she looked at her calendar. A week had passed since the day her period was supposed to come, and there was no sign of it at all. In addition to that, she had thrown up the previous morning, and, during sex the other night, Zac has commented that her breasts looked fuller than they did before. Vanessa has a good feeling about this. She was most definitely pregnant, and that was confirmed by the three positive pregnancy tests that lay on the bathroom counter later that day.

It was then that Vanessa wanted to tell Zac about her pregnancy. However, she stopped herself and decided instead to do it in a more creative way.

...

January 23, 2015
Los Angeles, California

"Hello," Dr. Gianna Warington, Vanessa's doctor, greeted as Vanessa stepped into the room. "How are you?"

"Pregnant," giggled Vanessa.

"Are you? Congratulations! Is that what you came here for today?"

Vanessa nodded.

"Alright, well let me just have you take one of our pregnancy tests to make sure it's not a false alarm, because some of the home ones aren't always accurate, and then, if it's confirmed, I'll calculate your due date and get you checked out." She handed Vanessa a pregnancy test.

Vanessa left the room, returning five minutes later with a positive test in her hand.

"Your test was right!" Dr. Warington observed. "Okay, have a seat, Vanessa, and answer a few questions for me."

Vanessa sat down.

"Alright. When did your last period end?"

"December 20."

"And when was the last time you had sex?"

"Um...two night ago."

"Alright, let me ask a different question. How soon after your last period did you have sex?"

"Like the night it ended."

"Yeah, I don't blame you. If Zac Efron was my husband, I'd be all over him, too," the doctor laughed. "But anyway, let's see..." She typed Vanessa's information into the computer. "Okay, your due date is September 15, 2015."

"Great!"

"And you will need to visit here once a month during the first two trimesters and once a week during the final trimester just to make sure everything's okay. So today will count as your first monthly visit, so we can go ahead and get started. We're gonna do a basic gyno routine today, but we're also going to do an ultrasound as well, which will be in the other room. So let's get done with the boring stuff, and then we'll go ahead and look at your baby and talk about what will happen during your pregnancy."

After twenty minutes, Vanessa was done her physical exam and headed over to the ultrasound room with her doctor, where she laid down on the table.

"Alright, can you lift your shirt up just a little? I'm gonna put gel on your stomach at the spot where your baby bump will be eventually, and we're just gonna take a look with the scanner."

Vanessa pulled her top up above her stomach and flinched as she felt the cold gel on her skin. However, all of her discomfort vanished when she saw her baby on the screen. It looked like a tiny thing, no bigger than a bean, but it was still amazing to see.

"Alright, everything looks good," Dr. Warington announced. "Would you like some photos of your baby?"

"Yes, please," Vanessa replied.

The doctor printed pictures of the baby, then told Vanessa to have a seat on one of the chairs in the room. Once she was sitting, she handed her several pamphlets on pregnancy. "Alright, now these pamphlets will kind of tell you what will happen during each month, but I'll go over that with you now as well, in case you have questions." She then proceeded to explain the pregnancy side effects to Vanessa.

"Okay, I got it," Vanessa spoke when the doctor was finished. "Thanks."

"You're welcome. Have a good day, and I'll see you next month!"

"See you. Bye!"

...

That night, Zac walked into the bedroom after a long day of interviews and photo shoots. As he started to remove his shoes, he noticed three black and white pictures on the mirror of the dresser. "Nessa, what are those pictures?" Zac walked over to the photos and looked closer.

Vanessa, who was sitting on the bed, walked over to Zac and, wrapping her arms around his waist, rested her chin on his shoulder. "It's our baby," she whispered.

"You mean..." A smile crept across Zac's face.

"Yes." Vanessa moved out from behind Zac and hung gently on to his neck. "I'm pregnant."

"Oh, Nessa," Zac breathed. He first kissed Vanessa's lips, then her neck, then placed a hand beneath her shirt and touched her stomach. "Hey," he said to his unborn child, "I'm your daddy. I can't wait until I can meet you."

Tears welled up in Vanessa's eyes. "Oh, Zac," she murmured, running her fingers through his hair. "You're so sweet. You're gonna be an amazing father."

"Well, you'll be an amazing mother." Zac kissed Vanessa on the nose and held her close for a few minutes. When their embrace ended, he carried her to the bed and sat her on his lap. "So," he started. "I guess I should probably cancel that action movie I just signed onto, shouldn't I?"

"You don't have to," Vanessa disagreed. "I'll be fine."

"But I wanna take time off for a year to help you, and to bond with our baby. I'll do some drama programs at different schools in the area while I have off."

"Okay," Vanessa said. "That'll work out, then."

"And once we find out if the baby's a boy or girl, we can start decorating one of the bedrooms," Zac continued. "And pick out a name."

"Yeah. I'm thinking we can have the baby's room rights next to ours, then when he or she gets older, we can make a big kid room a couple doors down so the poor kid won't be tortured by hearing us when we have sex."

"Or when our baby's still a newborn, we can pull a cradle into our room, then once he or she sleeps through the night, we can move them into their room. That way their room can be a couple doors down from the beginning and we don't have to move everything."

"Good idea! We should do that, then!"

"Oh, and we can make one of the rooms that are meant to be computer rooms or something a playroom."

"Yeah!" agreed Vanessa.

For the rest of the evening, Zac and Vanessa continued to discuss plans for their new baby, and share their excitement of finally becoming parents.

Second Chances: A Zanessa Story: Chapter 41

October 6, 2014

New York City, New York

"So how long are we here for again?" Vanessa queried as she folded one of tops and placed it in the dresser. She and Zac were in New York so that Zac could film the movie he had finally, after lots of consideration, decided to accept a role in.

"Three weeks," came Zac's response. "Then we fly out to Miami to film the rest of it."

"I guess we'll be here for your birthday, then?" After placing a spare sweatshirt in the drawer, Vanessa closed her empty suitcase and propped it against the wall.

"Yeah." Zac climbed onto the bed and, grabbing the remote control from the nightstand, turned the TV on. He and Vanessa had opted for a normal-sized room rather than a suite this time, since their trip to the city wasn't to be used for a vacation. It was still enough for them to live in for three weeks, though, as it had a king-size bed, a bathroom, a dressing area, two chairs and a table, a dresser, two nightstands, a TV, a coffee maker, a mini fridge, and a microwave.

"Babe, are we going anywhere tonight, or can I change into PJs?"

"Well, I was gonna run out to the store in a little while to get some bread and lunch meat and stuff, but you don't have to come. You can stay here and relax."

"Okay." Opening one of the dresser drawers, Vanessa picked out a pair of pajamas. After putting them on, she pulled her hair up into a messy bun, then got in bed beside Zac.

"Hey, cutie pie." Zac tucked the comforter around Vanessa's petite body and wrapped her in his arms.

Letting out a contented sigh, Vanessa rested her cheek on Zac's shoulder and put an arm around his waist. "I love you."

"I love you, too, Mrs. Efron." Zac smiled and kissed Vanessa's nose. A minute passed before he asked, "Do you wanna see if there's any good movies or anything on, baby girl?"

"Sure."

Zac unwound one of his arms from Vanessa to grab the remote. Flipping through the channels, he started to look through the onscreen guide. "The Vow is on, sweetheart. Wanna watch that?"

Vanessa nodded.

Zac pushed to go to the movie, then set the remote down so that he could hold Vanessa with both of his arms. "You're my beautiful girl," he murmured, pressing a kiss into her hair.

Smiling, Vanessa snuggled further into Zac and relaxed in his arms.

...

When the movie, which had already been half over by the time Zac and Vanessa had begun to watch it, was finished, Zac announced that he was going to go out to the grocery store to buy some food. "Do you want anything specific, angel?" he inquired as he slipped on some shoes and pulled a sweatshirt over his head.

"Could you get some blueberries?" Vanessa requested.

"Sure, baby girl. Anything else?"

"No."

"Alright, then. I'll be back soon." Zac kissed Vanessa good-bye before heading out the door of the hotel room. After arriving at the grocery store, which was just down the street, he grabbed a cart and entered the produce section. There he picked up the blueberries Vanessa had wanted along with a few apples. Once he was done with that, he picked up a pack of water bottles, granola bars, bread, ham lunch meat, cheese, trail mix, and paper plates. He quickly paid, then made his way back to the hotel. "Hey, Nessa," he greeted when he walked into his and Vanessa's room.

"Hey, babe." Vanessa was lying in bed, her iPhone in her hands.

"I got a bunch of food." Zac set down the twelve pack of water bottles he was carrying, then walked over to the table and placed his bag there. "I have blueberries, apples, cheese, bread, ham, granola bars, trail mix...and I also bought some paper plates." As he listed the items, he pulled them out of the bag.

"Sounds good." Vanessa placed her iPhone on the nightstand and sat up. "So I was just texting Stella."

"And what happened?" Zac questioned as he put the blueberries in the refrigerator.

"She said that my mom is still keeping in touch with Austin and his parents. And she thinks we're-meaning me and you-are spending too much time together."

"What the fuck?" Zac turned around to look at Vanessa. "We're married. We live together. What did she expect to happen? That we'd have a wedding, then each have our own house? Of course we're gonna be around each other all the time! She lives with your dad, doesn't she?"

"Yeah," Vanessa answered.

"Well then, what's her problem? I think the real problem would be if we didn't live in the same place and spend time together." Zac continued putting food away.

"I know. I guess she's just really angry that we got married. But still, I don't understand, either, why she's making a big deal out of us spending time together. It's not like we're always out in public. We just live in the same house, so we spend time there. It's not like we go walk around outside and call the paps to come take pictures of us."

"Exactly. I don't get what her problem is. And to be honest with you, Nessa, I'm not even sure why she hates me. She was the one who was being rude to you in my house on Christmas." As he finished organizing all the food, Zac stripped down to his boxers and slid into bed beside Vanessa.

"Are you ready to sleep?" asked Vanessa, laying back down and running her fingers through Zac's hair. It was, by this time, nearly midnight.

"Yeah. I'll get the light." Zac switched off the bedside lamp and pulled Vanessa close. "I would suggest having some sex before bed, but I'm too tired tonight."

"Me, too. Maybe we can try to have a round in the shower tomorrow morning or something," Vanessa suggested. She paused before saying, "Speaking of the morning, what time do you have to be on set?"

"Eight in the morning." Zac let out an exhausted sigh. "So if you wanna be naughty in the shower, you'll have to get up around six-thirty with me."

Vanessa giggled. "But I'll be able to go back to sleep after we're finished. She rubbed Zac's thick biceps and leaned in to kiss his lips.

"Well, it's all up to you, baby girl." Zac returned Vanessa's kiss, then closed his eyes.

"I'll see what I feel like doing in the morning," concluded Vanessa with a yawn.

...

October 7, 2014

Los Angeles, California

"What the fuck?" Austin exclaimed, watching as his son dropped down from a sitting position and began to slowly crawl across the beer-stained carpet of the living room.

"My baby's learning to crawl," came Nikki's proud response as she appeared around the corner with a dishtowel in her hand. She had just been washing the dishes from dinner.

"Aba ga goo!" Aukki babbled, continuing to move forward.

"What the hell? He's acting like a fucking retard!" Pulling his phone from his pocket, Austin logged into his Twitter app and wrote, "My son just learned to crawl. Check this out, he looks retarded." He snapped a photo of Aukki, then posted the tweet. Within a few minutes, people were replying with things like, "OMG no! He's so adorable! <3" and "He's not a retard; he's a cutie pie!"

Austin rolled his eyes at the replies, then tossed his phone aside and said, "Come here, Aukki. Let me hold you. I don't want you crawling." When Aukki ignored him, Austin walked up to him and, placing one arm under his stomach, lifted him up.

Aukki started to cry.

"Austin! You're hurting him!" Nikki cried. "Aww, come here, sweetie." She held out her arms and took Aukki, who was reaching for her. "Is Daddy a jerkface? Was Daddy being mean to you?" She kissed her son's forehead. "Here, let's go get some chocolate milk to make you feel better." She carried Aukki into the kitchen.

"You know, you need to stop spoiling the kid. He's gotta learn to be a tough guy, not a fat little crybaby."

"But he's an angel," Nikki protested. "He deserves the best treatment he can possibly be given." She handed Aukki a bottle of chocolate milk, then sat him on the floor so that she could finish washing dishes while he drank it.

"Well, I just don't like seeing the kid getting more attention than me. Ever since he was born, our sex life has had a huge decrease, and I'm pissed. If the kid is gonna prevent me from having fun, I'm gonna have to set some rules down. Something like you having to give me sex a minimum of four times a week. Because I can't handle this anymore."

"But sometimes I can't," Nikki explained. "You know that Aukki always hits his head on the wall in his sleep, then wakes up crying. It happens too often to be able to relax and enjoy sex four freaking times a week!" Due to the lack of room in the apartment, Aukki slept on the floor in the hall, just outside the bedroom.

"Who cares? Let him cry!" Austin shouted. "I told you a minute ago, he needs to learn to toughen up! And if you refuse to give me sex when I ask for it, I'll have to find some other girl to fuck. I've had my eye on Ashley Benson for a while..." He crossed his skinny arms over his chest.

"Fine. Go fuck her. I don't give a crap." Nikki slammed the dishtowel on the counter. "But just so you know, if you're gonna go out and sleep around, I won't stop myself from seeing other people, either." She cast Austin a death glare.

Austin shrugged off Nikki's warning and walked away.

This was only the start of tension in the Blonsky-Butler home.

 

August 1, 2014

Los Angeles, California

Three months had gone by since Zac and Vanessa had gotten married. They had gotten all settled into their house, which had used to just be Zac's house, and were used to living as husband and wife. Although Vanessa had moved in with Zac before the wedding, it felt different living together and being married. They both owned the home, they both had responsibilities to do, and both their salaries were going toward the same bills. On top of that, they had to come to agreements regarding what changes to make to the house and yard and what food to buy at the grocery store. However, all of that wasn't as hard as it seemed at first.

It was on a hot summer day, when Zac and Vanessa were sitting out by the backyard pool after a swim, that the topic of change came up for about the twentieth time since their wedding. This time, however, it wasn't about what new color to paint the dining room or if the couch in the master bedroom should be replaced. Instead, it was about expanding the Efron family.

"Zac," Vanessa began, curling closer to Zac on the beach chair they were sharing. "I'm ready..."

"Ready for what?" Zac queried, taking off his sunglasses to look into Vanessa's eyes.

Vanessa was silent for a minute before answering, "A baby...I want a baby, Zac."

"Now?"

Vanessa nodded.

"Are you sure, Nessa? Because I don't want to pressure you into something you're not ready for. I mean, if you're really ready, it's fine, but I don't want you to start having kids just because I'm anxious to be a daddy."

"I'm positive," came Vanessa's response. "I really want to start trying for a baby." She chewed on her lip.

"Well, if you're ready, I'm not gonna disagree with you," Zac spoke, pressing a kiss into Vanessa's hair.

"Okay. I'll have to call my doctor later this week and ask about stopping with birth control. Once I get that all figured out, we can see if we can make a baby." Vanessa smiled up at Zac.

"Why do you need the doctor to stop taking birth control?"

"I'm not sure if I do...but I've been on it ever since we started having sex, so I just wanna make sure it's okay to stop using it," explained Vanessa. "I mean, I've missed a few days here and there, and I wasn't real strict about taking it when I was with BUTTler, since we didn't do anything, but I'm just not sure about completely switching off of it."

"Yeah...you'd better be safe than sorry," Zac agreed.

...

August 17, 2014

Arroyo Grande, California

"Can you pass the butter, Nessa?" asked Zac. He and Vanessa were eating dinner at his parents' house, and the meal consisted of a salad, pasta with meatballs, and Italian bread and butter.

"Sure." Vanessa slid the butter tray over to Zac.

"So how are you guys doing?" David queried. "We haven't seen you much since the wedding."

"We're good," Zac replied. "I actually just got offered a role in another movie, but I'm still debating about if I want to accept it or not."

"Why?"

"Well, Vanessa and I..." Zac glanced over at Vanessa, who nodded her approval, before continuing. "Vanessa and I started trying for a baby," he revealed. "I'm not sure how soon she'll get pregnant, but I don't want it to happen, then leave her in L.A. while I'm out all over the world filming, promoting, and being interviewed. I just don't feel think that would be very supportive."

"Yeah, I can see where you're coming from," David agreed. "You could always just bring her along with you, though, but that's something the two of you will need to discuss for yourselves."

Before Zac could say anything, Starla exclaimed, "A baby already! I've been waiting so long for you and Vanessa to give me grandchildren...even before you were engaged."

"You still gotta be patient, Mom," Zac pointed out. "Vanessa's not even expecting yet." He shoved a forkful of pasta into his mouth.

"Well, I'm still getting excited," smiled Starla. "And I hope you have a little girl. I have the urge to go shopping for adorable baby dresses."

"So Zac and I were a disappointment to you?" joked Dylan.

"No. I was actually glad I had boys," Starla responded. "But I just think that a granddaughter would be nice."

"Yeah, I want a little girl, too," Zac agreed. "Then we can have a little mini Vanessa in the house." He wrapped an arm around his wife's shoulders and kissed the top of her head.

Vanessa giggled. "Well, I hate to break up the party, but I would like to have a boy first, then we'll see how that goes and decide from there if we want any more kids or not."

"Well, Vanessa, I have a feeling my son is going to talk you into having at least two, if not three," David remarked.

"And that won't be hard for you guys to do," Dylan added teasingly.

Vanessa blushed and briefly rested her cheek on Zac's muscular arm.

"Well, however many kids we end up with, I'll make sure that my goal will always be to treat them better than Austin treats his kid." Zac laughed. "You know, on his Twitter, he posted a tweet that said, 'Gonna go buy some more chocolate milk. Damn, babies are so expensive.' Then he hashtagged the words 'unhappy dad.'"

"Wait, what? How old is his son...Aukki, I think his name is?" queried Starla.

"He's seven or eight months be now. But when Austin posted that tweet, he was only about two months."

"He was feeding his kid chocolate milk when he was only two months old? That's not good for babies...not at all."

"Well, Mom, you gotta consider the sanity of the parents," Dylan interjected. "I mean, who names their kid 'Aukki?'"

Everyone laughed.

"Alright...well to change the topic to something a little happier, Vanessa, how's it going for you? Do you have any new projects or anything?" David inquired.

"No," Vanessa answered. "I haven't for a long time, and I think I'm just gonna let my career go. I guess the High School Musical fame kind of wore off, and if I wanna be a mom, I won't have time to try auditioning for stuff to get myself back in the business."

"So you're planning to be a stay-at-home mom, then? That's good," David smiled.

"I haven't decided yet. Zac and I will need to talk that over when the time comes for us to worry about it. For now, I'm not sure if I wanna be home with the kids or find a job somewhere else...I wouldn't mind teaching dance classes or something like that." She took a sip of her water.

"Well, you have plenty of time to think about it. When Mom and I decided to have Zac, she didn't know what she wanted to do after he was born until her maternity leave from work was up. Then she decided she was enjoying taking care of him and would rather stay at home than work all day and leave him in day care."

"Yeah," Starla put in. "I wanted to make sure he was raised in the way I wanted him to be raised. Same with Dylan. And not to brag or anything, but I think I did a pretty good job."

"Yes, you did," smiled Vanessa. "Zac is a very good husband, and I think he'll be a good daddy, too."

Rubbing the back of his neck, Zac smiled back at his wife.

The rest of the meal passed with some less interesting conversation. When all the dishes were cleared, an apple crumb pie was brought out for dessert, and everyone enjoyed a large slice. Once they were done that, Zac and Vanessa chatted with Zac's parents and Dylan for a couple hours, then announced that they needed to head home, as Los Angeles was three hours away, and their plan was to arrive back at their place around midnight.

"Alright. Well, it was nice having you here," Starla said. "Have a safe trip home." She hugged Zac, then Vanessa. "Love you both."

"Love you," Zac and Vanessa both responded. Although Starla wasn't her real mother, Vanessa felt closer to her than Gina. She was always so easy-going and kind, while Gina was very stubborn and, at times, hateful.

"Bye." David took a turn hugging Zac and Vanessa once Starla had moved away from them. "Call us soon, okay?"

"I will, Dad," Zac promised.

"See you later," spoke Dylan, sharing a manly hug with Zac, then embracing Vanessa.

"See you. Bye." Zac took Vanessa's hand as he opened the door to leave. After leading her to the car and getting her settled into the passenger seat, he pulled out a blanket and pillow from the trunk and handed them to her. "Just in case you get sleepy on the way back. I know you had a late night last night, and you always seem to get sleepy in the car." He kissed her forehead. "You feel warm, baby girl," he remarked with surprise. "Are you alright?"

"I'm fine," Vanessa assured.

"You sure?"

Vanessa nodded.

"Well, if you say so." Pressing another kiss onto Vanessa's face, Zac got behind the wheel and started up the car. As he backed out of the driveway, he let out a sigh at the thought of being on the road for three long hours.

...

August 18, 2014

Los Angeles, California

Zac handed Vanessa a glass of water. "Here, angel. Try drinking a little of this." On the way back to Los Angeles the night before, Vanessa had gotten sick in the car. Overnight, she had woken up about five times to go throw up in the bathroom. Zac was very concerned, and wanted to try his best to make Vanessa feel a little better.

Vanessa shook her head. "I don't want water," she moaned, sinking back into the pillows and turning away from Zac.

"But sweetie, you need to stay hydrated," Zac encouraged. "Just take one sip. Please?"

Sighing, Vanessa slowly sat up and, taking the cup of water from Zac, sipped a little of it before placing it on the bedside table.

"I know. I know it's hard not feeling good." Zac slid into bed beside Vanessa and pulled her close to him.

"I've always had bad periods ever since my first one," Vanessa whimpered. "Not necessarily throwing up every time, but I'd get horrible cramps and headaches. When I was on birth control it got a lot better, but now I just feel like shit again." She rested her head on Zac's chest.

"Aww, Nessa." Zac pressed a kiss into Vanessa's hair. "I'm a guy, so I can't give any advice about your time of the month, but I can tell you that if you don't feel ready to go through all this, you can go back on birth control and we can wait some more time before trying for a baby again. It's up to you, sweetie."

"Well, I want a baby..." Vanessa replied. "So I guess I'll just have to suffer for a while."

"It'll get better," promised Zac. "And I'm sure all this will be worth it when we get to see a baby that we made together."

"Yeah," sighed Vanessa, letting out a small groan and closing her eyes. "It'll be amazing."