Driving Off Into the Sunset by Lillie

Challenger: Sarah
Rating(s) of the fic you want: T (Teen 13+),
Which brother do you want your story to be about?: Zac
Genre you want your story to be: Comedy

Three specific things you want your fic to include:

  • chocolate covered raisins
  • a scorching hot day
  • and talks of a road trip

Three things you do not want your fic to include:

  • a Barbie and Ken-type relationship
  • Kate or Natalie bashing
  • any major storms like tornadoes

It was the first day of summer, June 21st, and already the day promised to be a scorcher. The air conditioner in our house had died the week before and the huge fan I had stolen from the Hanson’s did little but move the hot air around my room in swishing arcs as the hottest day of the summer dawned. I had been up since three that morning, lying on my back on top of the tangle of sheets and staring up at the brown spot on my ceiling from when my sister flooded the bathroom last Christmas.

At five, I hooked my thumbs underneath the elastic waistband of my shorts and pulled them off, then rolled the wife beater that I was sleeping in up to expose my sweating belly.

At ten, Zac showed up. The house was empty otherwise, except for my massive cat Justin who was lying in front of the fan and taking up the precious cool air, and I heard the screen door slap against its frame and then someone stumble and curse. There was an abrupt step down when you walked from the kitchen to the hallway that led to my room and Zac, no matter how many times he visited, always missed it. I rolled down my shirt and flung a wisp of sheet over my legs, waiting for the door to my room to bang open. It did a few moments later and Zac stumbled in and tossed himself forcefully onto my bed, making my body jump involuntarily.

“I feel like shit.” He moaned, dragging two large, calloused hands through his hair as I reached over and dragged my hands through it.

“You look like shit.” I muttered as I rolled over and rested my weight on my elbows, studying him. For someone who possessed a maddening ability to roll out of bed and look amazing, he really did look awful. His tan skin was pale and he had purplish bags underneath his eyes, which looked bloodshot.

“Yeah…” He breathed, closing his eyes, and rubbing his hair again, making it stand up even more than usual and frowning. “Dude, I’m hung over.” I giggled, poking his stomach, delighting at his honesty. “It’s not funny!” He protested, pouting in my general direction as I wound the sheet around me and tugged it out from underneath his body. “Will you make me some coffee or something?” He whined, watching me as I ducked into my closet and pulled the door closed, looking around and selecting the smallest amount of clothing that I could wear and still appear decent.

“Make yourself coffee! I’m not going anywhere near anything hot!” I called, slipping on the ripped Daisy Duke shorts and a short tank top. He pulled open the door to the closet and I screamed, darting away as he grabbed at me.

“Ergh.” He groaned. “Stop moving so fast.” I laughed and he flipped me off, moving slowly towards the kitchen, holding his head.

“Don’t be mad at me, Zac. I’ll get you some Advil, but you’re making your own damn coffee.” He grunted acknowledgement and waved at me as I headed for the bathroom and tipped two pink Advil into my hands. I handed them to Zac as he dumped an obscene amount of coffee into the machine and jabbed a few buttons. He murmured a thank you and frowned at the machine as he downed the two pills in one go, without any water.

“Do you have any idea what you’re doing?” I questioned as I hopped onto the counter beside him and watched the coffee machine apprehensively. Zac gave a nonchalant shrug.

“Sure, I’ve seen Taylor do it about a million times.” I nodded and made a mental note to get ready to duck if the coffee machine exploded.

“Speaking of Taylor…shouldn’t you be in the studio right now?” Zac shook his head.

“Last time I went there with a hangover he slapped me upside the head. I’m taking the day off.” Zac stretched his arms and grinned luxuriously. Ever since they had split with Island Def Jams and formed their own record company the Hanson’s had been able to take charge of their own music and Zac’s way of celebrating their freedom seemed to be giving himself random days off, much to Taylor’s displeasure.

“Taylor’s going to kill — .” I broke off as the coffee machine emitted a high wail. Zac and I looked at each other and dove for cover behind the fridge just before the coffee machine exploded, tossing coffee grinds and hot water every which way. I wrinkled my nose at the strong smell of coffee, and Zac sheepishly grinned.

“Sorry about that. I’ll clean it up for you, and get you a new machine.” He promised but I waved the words away, fumbling in my bread box for a large tin and then grabbed his hand.

“Let’s get out of here. Take me on a ride.” He nodded and took the tin from my hands, digging the car keys out of his pocket as we climbed into his Econoline van. It was hot and stuffy inside from sitting in my un-shaded driveway and I nearly burnt my fingers as I buckled my seat belt.

“Where to?” Zac asked as he started the car and I rolled the windows down all the way.

“That way.” I pointed and he nodded, starting off in the direction that I pointed, out of town, and away from both of our houses. As he pulled onto the road the wind began to thrum through the open windows, drying our sweaty faces and tangling with my hair, throwing it around my face in a dizzying maze of patterns. I pulled it away from my face and opened Zac’s glove compartment, quickly finding the small stack of hair ties that Kate left in his car. I tied my hair back and then leaned out of the window, watching as we drove past empty fields and empty road. On hot days such as these, people stayed in their homes or on their porches, lazy and loath to make any movement whatsoever, so ours was the only car on the road.

I leaned farther out of the window, receiving a concerned grunt from Zac, who seemed to think that I was in danger of falling out. I waved his concerns away and spread my arms, ignoring the uncomfortable way the top of the window cut into my stomach. I closed my eyes, savoring the way the wind felt against my fluttering eyelids and lashes.

“I wish I could fly!” I shouted over the roar of the rushing wind, spreading my arms even wider.

“I wish you would get your butt outta my face and come back inside the car so I don’t have to attend a funeral anytime soon!” Zac yelled back and I sighed.

“You’re no fun.”

“Whatever. Flying is easy anyway. All you’ve gotta do is throw yourself at the ground and…miss.” He shrugged, and kicked at the tin I had brought, the toe of his Chuck Taylor making a solemn chime.

“What’s that?” He questioned as I worked my way back inside of the car.

“Provisions.” I opened up the tin and showed him the large stash of chocolate covered raisins. I detached a clump and stuck one in my mouth, rubbing my stomach with a smile. He opened his own mouth and looked at me imploringly, nodding in appreciation as I stuck a few into his mouth.

“So…where exactly are we going?” He asked two hours later, we were still driving through fields and past houses, and the sun had reached its zenith and was nearly blinding us as we drove straight into it. I had found a pair of sunglasses that Kate had left in the car, next to the hair elastics and had put them on, enjoying the shade the ridiculously large frames provided.

“I was thinking Canada.” I said, offhandedly, picking up the last clump of chocolate covered raisins and giving half to Zac and taking the other half for myself. He raised an eyebrow.

“A road trip?” He asked, and I nodded, grinning.

“Oh, that would really make Taylor’s day.” Zac chuckled. “I can imagine the phone conversation now: ‘Hi Tay! Guess where I am! Canada!’ ‘You little *beep*!’” I laughed and Zac rolled his eyes. “And then Kate would kick my ass, supposedly it’s the anniversary of our first date… I mean how the heck does she even remember that?! I don’t remember anything about our first date. It was four damn years ago.”

“So Canada is a no, then?”

“Yeah. We should probably get back.” Zac checked the road up ahead of us and then executed a neat U-turn and started heading back the way we had came.

“That was totally illegal.” I giggled, and he stuck his tongue out at me. “Can we call Canada a rain check? ‘Cause I really do want to take a road trip to there someday.” Zac shrugged.

“Okay.” We lapsed back into silence and surveyed the field of cows that we were passing.

“Know what I think?” Zac asked a few moments later. I curled up into a ball in my seat and watched him.

“What?”

“I think we should invade Canada.” I burst into laughter. “No! I’m serious! Let’s pull all of the troops out of Iraq and invade Canada. We could so totally take Canada.” I grinned.

“Oh, yeah, we could totally take Canada…” I rolled my eyes and Zac slapped at my legs. He stretched a hand out of the window and sighed contentedly, as the sun began to sink towards the horizon and pinks and purples mixed in with the blue sky, creating the perfect scenery for us to drive off into the sunset.

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