Something New by Brittney

Challenger: Mel
Rating(s) of the fic you want: T (Teen 13+), MA (Mature 17+),
Which brother do you want your story to be about?: Zac
Genre you want your story to be: Drama

Three specific things you want your fic to include:

  • the character must have sisters
  • the character must be a loner.
  • the Harry Potter books must be worked into the dialoge somehow (just as a funny side note)

Three things you do not want your fic to include:

  • Young Hanson (i.e. young Taylor, young Zac, young Ike)
  • No slash
  • No drugs or alcohol

Regan Sanders pushed her long dark locks out of her face as she dug around in her tiny change purse. She knew she had a quarter in there somewhere. It was just hiding from her. She was sure of it. She glanced at the girl behind the counter and smiled with embarrassment while mumbling an apology for taking so long. She returned her attention to the tiny change purse while telling herself she was going to throw the stupid thing away as soon as she got home because there had to be hole in it or something. Finally, she gave up on finding the quarter and dug another dollar out of her pocket before handing it over to the girl behind the counter.

“Sorry,” Regan said again as the girl took the bills. While she waited for the girl to give her the change, she glanced over her shoulder at the line behind her. She couldn’t help but wonder when all of those people got there. The place had been empty when she walked inside. Now she was holding up the line. No wonder the girl behind the counter looked like she wanted to scratch her eyes out with her bare hands.

“Here’s your change,” the girl said, drawing Regan’s attention back to her.

“Thanks,” Regan said, reaching out her hand to take it, but when the girl poured the change into Regan’s open hand a few quarters and pennies fell to the floor.

“Sorry,” the girl behind the counter said, though the tone of her voice said otherwise.

“It’s okay,” Regan replied, fighting back a glare as she stooped down to pick up her fallen change.

“Here you go,” she heard a man say. She glanced in the direction of the voice and saw a hand with a few pieces of change in it.

“Thank you,” she replied, holding out her hand. He poured the change into her hand, and she lifted her head to look at his face. She was surprised at her luck. The guy before her was handsome with kind coffee colored eyes. There was a small smile playing on his lips.

“No problem,” he replied, glancing back down at the floor they were stooped down on. “Oh, there’s another penny,” he commented.

“Oh,” Regan said. Instinctively, they both moved toward the small copper colored object. Unfortunately, when they both moved in the same direction at the same time, their heads smacked together. They both pulled back, holding their heads.

“Sorry,” they both said. They both laughed despite their embarrassment and replied, “It’s okay.”

Regan could feel her face burning. This simply wasn’t her day. She reached for the penny before the guy could move toward it again, and they both stood upright on slightly shaky legs. Before Regan could thank him again, a guy behind the counter called out her order. She took it from him without hazard and turned back to thank the guy, but he’d walked back to the end of the line, so Regan made her way toward the back of the coffee shop.

She sat down and pulled a book out of her purse. She flipped through the pages until she found the spot where she’d stopped reading and sipped her Chocolate Crème Frappuccino as she resumed reading. This had become her daily routine. Every day she found herself at this small coffee shop after work, sipping on a drink of her choice, and reading a book. Of course, she was always reading a book. During breakfast, lunch, breaks, dinner, and before bed, there was always a book in hand.

She’d been a bookworm all of her life, and she didn’t mind. Books were the one constant in her life. They never let her down or left her like people did. Most people called her a loner, and while she knew it was true, she never really felt like one when she had a good book in hand and a whole other world to slip into. While she was there, she could forget about her problems and the stresses of every day life. Books were her place of solace.

However, today she was having trouble finding solace in one of her many books. As far as she was concerned, she could mark this day as an all around bad day. First, she was late for work. She wasn’t quite sure how it happened. She took the same route to work every day on the subway, but somehow, she managed to miss her connecting ride and found herself on a crowded subway train, fighting to get off at her stop. Her boss wasn’t too pleased with her when she arrived a good twenty minutes late. She knew there was no use trying to explain.

She went to her little cubicle and started to work on her latest project only to be called down to the boss’s office half an hour later. It was then he told her she’d been reassigned to something else. At first she thought it was because she’d been late, but then when she found out who was taking over her project, she knew it was because the boss favored busty, pouty-lipped Bonnie over her. She figured the boss probably just wanted a chance to work closely with the resident skank.

As she walked back to her cubicle after that meeting, she glanced down at her own chest and couldn’t see she was lacking in that area. Unlike big boob Bonnie, Regan preferred more conservative attire. Certainly there wasn’t anything wrong with a pair of neutral pinstriped pants and a crochet-trimmed tank topped with a denim jacket. It wasn’t as if she dressed like a frumpy, sexless librarian. Sure, she wasn’t an exotic or classic beauty, but most of the time she felt she was a decent looking woman at the ripe old age of 23.

She also felt she was successful and smart. After all, she’d graduated in the top five percent of her class and landed a job immediately after graduation. She always did good work. She never caused trouble and was most always dependable – save for the incident that morning. However, none of that seemed to concern her horny, overpaid, under-appreciative boss.

Her inadequacy was only further shoved in her face when she received a call from her mother during her lunch break. “Regan, I have wonderful news,” she’d said. “Evan finally proposed to Simone last night.”

Regan could hear the joy in her mother’s voice. Simone was her older sister, and she and Evan had been a steady couple since college. Regan’s mother had been dropping hints left and right about her middle daughter getting married. Evan chose to take his time, though, and it seemed he’d finally decided he was ready. Naturally, Regan was very happy for her older sister. She liked Evan and knew her sister was head over heels in love with him. Simone had been just as anxious as their mother when it came to tying the knot.

“And,” Regan’s mother continued. “I talked to Candace this morning. She and Rick are expecting a child.”

“Oh, wow,” Regan had said. She was floored by all of the good news. Candace was her eldest sister, and Rick was her husband. They’d been married for a little over a year and had been trying to get pregnant since their honeymoon. It seemed they’d finally been blessed. Again, Regan felt very happy for her sister. Candace and Rick were both teachers, and Regan knew how much they both loved children and wanted to start a family. She couldn’t wait until she had a niece or nephew to spoil.

However, her joy was short lived. “Now, we just have to worry about you, Ree,” her mother said.

“You don’t have to worry about me, mother,” Regan replied.

“Yes, I do,” she said. “You hardly go out. Can you even remember your last date? You’re never going to find a husband if you keep your nose buried in books and stayed locked up in that little apartment of yours.”

Her mother’s words stung not only because she was putting down her love of books, but also because Regan, honestly, couldn’t remember the last time she’d been out on a date. She knew her mother was right. She needed to get out more. She needed to meet people. She needed to live. It was just so hard to break her routine. She loved her books, and she loved her little apartment. She loved locking herself in for the evening and getting lost in another world as she read one of her many books and held her cat on her lap and sipped on hot cocoa. It was warm and cozy and made her feel safe.

No matter how many times she tried to explain this to her family none of them seemed to understand. Every time she went to family gatherings it felt like they were all ganging up on her. Her sisters would try to set her up with men they worked with, and her mom tried to get her to go out with her friends’ sons. She simply wasn’t interested, though. Of course she wanted someone to snuggle up with at night, but none of the men they tried to set her up with were her type. She didn’t care how much money they had in the bank or what kind of car they drove. All she was looking for was someone who was willing to take her as she was – flaws and all.

She tried to refocus on the book in her hands, but her mind was elsewhere. She could feel a headache coming on. She rubbed her temple and sighed.

“Need some Tylenol?”

She lifted her head and saw the same guy who’d helped her pick up her change standing over her. He had a bag slung over his shoulder, a cup in his hand, and a smile playing on his lips.

“Actually, yeah, I think I do,” she smiled.

He let a full smile grace his lips, and Regan couldn’t help but notice what a nice smile it was. He sat his drink down on the table and down on the chair across from her before digging around in his bag. Finally, he produced a bottle of Tylenol.

“How many?” he asked as he popped the lid off.

“Two please,” she replied.

He poured two pills out into his hand before handing them over to Regan.

“Thank you,” she said. She slipped them in her mouth and took a big sip of her frappucino and swallowed both pills.

“You’re welcome,” he smiled. “I’m Zac, by the way.”

“Regan,” she replied, stretching her hand out of habit to shake his hand. After all, she worked with professional people all day.

Zac looked a little taken aback, but quickly recovered and shook her hand. “It’s nice to meet you,” he said.

“You too,” Regan nodded. “And thank you for helping me up at the counter with the change.”

“No problem,” Zac shrugged.

“I felt terrible holding up the line,” she said.

“Ah, most of those people probably didn’t really need coffee anyway,” he said, glancing up at the front counter. “Like that guy at the end of the line. He already looks wired. He’s using coffee to replace sleep. When he comes down from that coffee high, it’s probably not going to be pretty.”

Regan couldn’t help but laugh. “I think coffee is probably one of the most popular drugs of choice,” she commented. “I’m here every day like clockwork getting my daily fix.”

“Me too,” Zac nodded. “Not like clockwork, though. I’m in and out of here all day long.”

“You must have a nice job if you come and go as you please,” Regan commented.

He laughed, “I guess you could say that.”

Regan smiled and sipped her drink when she couldn’t think of anything else to say. Luckily, Zac picked up the slack. “So what are you reading?” he asked.

“Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts,” Regan replied, lifting the book so he could see the cover.

“Ah, Oprah’s book club, huh?” he grinned.

“Yeah, what can I say? Oprah’s great,” Regan shrugged.

“Good woman,” Zac nodded. “Very nice.”

“You’ve met her?” Regan asked with surprise.

“Yeah, a long time ago,” Zac nodded. Regan had a feeling she was missing something from the sly look on Zac’s face. She wondered if he was just pulling her leg.

“Are you being serious?” she asked.

“Yeah,” Zac nodded. “Totally serious.”

“Okay …” Regan said slowly.

“So, is your book good?” Zac asked.

“Yeah, better than the movie, and it’s one of my favorites,” she replied.

“There’s a movie based on that book?” he asked.

“Yeah, the one with Natalie Portman. She has the baby in a Wal-Mart,” Regan replied. “You probably haven’t ever watched it. It’s a chick flick,” she laughed.

“Ah, that explains it,” Zac nodded. “I’m more of a Harry Potter guy myself.”

“Well, I’ve read that too,” Regan explained. “Harry Potter is essential reading no matter how old you are.”

“Very true,” Zac nodded. “Fun for all ages.”

“Oh yes,” Regan laughed.

“So, you’re here every day?” he asked.

“Yep,” she nodded. “I have to stop by after work. I need to reenergize.”

“Ah, well, I can relate to that,” Zac laughed. “I have to come back every few hours for a pick me up,” he said. “I wonder why we haven’t seen each other here before.”

“Well, I really wasn’t looking. Were you?” she smirked.

“Very true,” he nodded. “We could pass each other every day and not know it.”

“Exactly,” Regan nodded. “Now we’ll probably see each other all the time.”

Zac nodded. “I just hope we don’t have to bump heads every time.”

“Very funny,” Regan said with a wry smile. “And I’m sorry about that.”

“Nah, it’s okay,” he shrugged before heaving a sigh. “Well, I suppose I should probably get back to work. My brothers are probably wondering where I got to.”

“You work with your brothers?” Regan asked.

“Yep,” Zac nodded.

“That must be interesting,” Regan commented. She tried to imagine working with her own sisters and mentally shuddered at the thought. As much as she loved both of them, she knew working with them on a daily basis would end in disaster.

“Oh yeah,” he nodded, sipping his drink before he stretched his arms above his head and covered his mouth to hide a yawn. “Well, duty calls.”

“Well, it was nice meeting, Zac,” Regan said.

“Likewise,” Zac nodded. “I’ll keep an eye out for you next time.”

“Same here,” she nodded with a smile.

Zac stood and slung his bag over his shoulder. “See ya.”

“Yeah, see ya,” she nodded, smiling after him. She watched him walk out of the small coffee shop and pass in front of the big glass windows. He paused in front of her and turned and waved with a smile before continuing down the busy street.

Regan couldn’t help but smile as she finished her frappucino. It looked like she might have something new to look forward to every day after work. As much as she loved her little apartment and her books and her cat, she found the possibility of finding someone to snuggle up to at night very exciting.

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