Rating(s) of the fic you want: whatever suits the writer
Which brother: Zac
Three things you want your fic to include:
- “give me three reasons not to”
Three things you do not want your fic to include:
- isaac… haha, joking
According to the Bible, God made man in his own image, and from the man, he created the woman. Often times everyone who knew Zac and Hayley wondered if the said could be said for them. From the time they were in diapers, Zac and Hayley were best friends. The first ten years of their lives people wondered if they were attached at the hip because wherever one went the other wasn’t far behind. Zac’s oldest brother liked to joke that Zac and Hayley were the new age Adam and Eve except Zac was the more likely of the two to be tempted by the forbidden fruit.
By the time they reached junior high, they started to venture off to different activities, but even though they had separate interests and strengths, their friendship remained strong. To their family and close friends, they were known as the dynamic duo. Zac was the artistic math genius that captained the soccer team, and Hayley was the quiet studious vice president of their class. What one couldn’t do the other could, and Hayley’s sister always said they would be lost without each other, or at the very least suffer from separation anxiety.
With their high school graduation quickly approaching, both Zac and Hayley were already beginning to worry that perhaps Hayley’s sister was right. Maybe they would be lost once the summer passed and they went away to college. For as long as they could remember, everyone had always said that someday they were going to end up married. Zac’s younger sister always said they were the real life Dawson and Joey from Dawson’s Creek and no matter how many times they argued and said they were just friends and nothing more, no one seemed to be listening. It was as if they all knew something Zac and Hayley didn’t. It wasn’t until midway through their final year of high school that everything their family and friends had been telling them was validated.
When Zac and Hayley started high school and realized how hectic their lives were with all of their activities, they decided it simply wouldn’t do, so they decided one night a week was just their night. It was never the same night because their activities always varied throughout the week, so they always decided on Sunday evening what night was going to be “Zac and Hayley” night. No one else was allowed to tag along no matter what it was they decided they were going to do. It was their time when they could talk about anything without holding back. Honesty was their policy. However, that policy flew out the window after something unexpected happened the first week back to school after winter break.
The day started off like most others with chatting with friends by their lockers and hurrying off to their classrooms before the bell rang. It was at lunch that Zac sat down beside Hayley with a contemplative look on his face.
“What’s wrong with you?” Hayley asked as she bit into her homemade peanut butter and marshmallow sandwich.
“I need a favor,” Zac replied, biting at the skins around his thumbnail. It was a nervous habit he had picked up from his eldest brother.
“If you want to copy my physics homework, there’s no way,” Hayley replied. “I spent well over two hours working on that. Do it yourself.”
“I don’t want to copy your homework, Hay,” Zac replied, rolling his eyes.
“Oh,” Hayley said, looking surprised. “What is it then?”
“Do you think we can reschedule our night this week?” he asked. His voice was so quiet that Hayley almost had to strain to hear him.
The surprised look on Hayley’s face intensified before it was replaced with a frown. “Why? What’s come up?” she asked.
Zac looked away as he spoke. “Lauren Masterson asked me to help her with pre-calculus tonight.”
“You can’t help her another night?” Hayley asked.
“We’re having a quiz tomorrow,” Zac replied.
“Oh, well, okay,” Hayley nodded as she gathered her food and stuffed it into her lunch box hastily before she stood. “I’ll see you later.”
“Wait,” Zac said as he stood up as well and caught her arm. “Are you mad at me?” he asked.
“No,” Hayley said quickly. “I just need to get something from my locker.”
Zac frowned, but nodded, before Hayley fled from the noisy cafeteria, passing Lauren Masterson on her way. She grimaced at the thought of the dainty blonde cheerleader as she pushed through the heavy doors and stepped out into the empty hallway.
Her heart raced as she sped down the hallway. She was angry. In the last three and half years they never had to cancel their night. They had promised never to let anything else get in the way. She knew the importance of studying for a quiz. After all, she was at the top of the class and neck-to-neck with Billy Montgomery for valedictorian. But even though she understood the importance of studying, it didn’t stop her from feeling hurt.
Hayley’s feelings didn’t change much over the next week either. She and Zac never rescheduled their night for that week, so Hayley was feeling annoyed by that fact. However, she was willing to get over her annoyance by the following week. She and Zac talked on the phone on Sunday night and made plans, and things seemed to be back to normal. That didn’t last long, though, because Monday during lunch, Hayley was taken aback when Lauren joined their table. Zac seemed to be completely taken with Lauren, and he barely even noticed Hayley was there.
Hayley tried not to get upset. After all, it wasn’t as if neither of them had never had a boyfriend or girlfriend before. They had both dated other people; it just hadn’t caused any problems in their friendship. They had most certainly never cancelled their night together for someone else, and Hayley was seriously beginning to wonder if Zac and Lauren had done any studying at all the week before. From the way they were making lovey-dovey eyes at each other, she suspected not.
The situation didn’t improve as Hayley had hoped either. Over the course of the next few weeks, Zac and Lauren seemed to be attached at the hip, or more literally, much to Hayley’s disgust, at the lips. Even when Zac and Hayley got together to hang out, Zac wanted to talk about Lauren. Hayley tried her best to always smile and look like she truly cared to hear about his new relationship, but her smiles were always hollow.
Zac had asked a few times if she was feeling okay because she “didn’t seem like herself,” but Hayley always assured him that she was fine. She wasn’t even sure if she could explain her feelings to him. She had never been jealous in the past, and she didn’t actually dislike Lauren. In fact, Lauren was much nicer than Hayley had ever imagined her to be, but even that didn’t make Hayley feel any better about Zac dating her.
What did make her feel better, though, was when the cold weather finally let up as spring arrived, and she and Zac found themselves his backyard on a Thursday afternoon during their spring break. The warm weather seemed to brighten Hayley’s mood, and Zac’s smile only seemed to broaden when Hayley agreed to play a game of soccer with him. Hayley was fairly certain that Zac loved soccer above anything else in the world. His brothers teased him and said that if it were legal to marry an inanimate object, then Zac would have been up at the courthouse on his eighteenth birthday, with a soccer ball in hand, ready to tie the knot.
As they spent the sunny afternoon in Zac’s backyard kicking the black and white ball across the damp grass, Hayley couldn’t help but smile. While Zac was clearly beating her at the game, it was still fun. Zac liked to distract her as they played by talking to her about random things. Sometimes, he’d ask her thoughtful questions that caused her to take her eyes off of the ball and stop to think, which gave Zac the chance to steal the ball and score a point. Once Zac was ahead of her by twenty points, they said they were going to quit keeping score, but, of course, they were both secretly keeping track in their heads.
As the afternoon wore on, they became tired and sweaty, so Hayley collapsed into one of the lawn chairs on the back porch while Zac went inside to get drinks. Hayley waited and waited and was beginning to wonder where Zac had wondered off to when he came back outside. However, he had no drinks. Instead he was holding a Super Soaker water gun in his hands, which no doubt belonged his to his younger brother, Mackenzie.
From the sly grin on his face, Hayley knew exactly what he had in mind, so she jumped up quickly, no longer feeling tired. “Don’t you dare shoot me with that, Zachary Hanson!”
“You said you were hot and sweaty,” Zac laughed. “I thought I’d just help you cool down.”
Hayley gave him a look of warning, but he paid her no mind. Instead he pumped the water gun and aimed right at her. Hayley screamed and ran off the porch as quickly as possibly, but Zac was much faster than her and he no trouble keeping up. The first squirt of water hit her square in the back between the shoulder blades, and she yelled as the cool water hit her but kept running. Zac managed to hit her a few more times before he ran out of water and fell to the ground tiredly.
Hayley doubled over with her hands on her knees trying to catch her breath, and while Zac lay lazily on the ground, she got an idea. She started toward the house but Zac called after her. “Where are you going?”
“To get something to drink,” she replied breathlessly.
She walked into the house through the back door, which lead into the kitchen. She looked through the window and saw Zac still lying on the ground, so she hurried into the living room where his younger brother was watching television and asked him for help.
A few minutes later she walked back outside with another one of Mackenzie’s water guns in hand. It was fully loaded with water, and she grinned triumphantly as she marched across the grass toward Zac, who was still lying on the ground with his eyes closed. She pumped the gun, and Zac jumped up.
“What are you doing with that?” he asked.
“Seeking my revenge,” she smiled cheekily.
“Now, Hay, that’s not necessary,” Zac said, standing up and holding his hands out in front of him as if to ward her off.
Hayley raised an eyebrow and pumped the water gun again. “Oh yeah? Give me three reasons not to,” she said.
“Because I’m your best friend in the world and you’d be lost without me?” Zac offered, but Hayley didn’t look convinced.
“Because you love me?” he asked.
Hayley considered his words but still didn’t look completely convinced.
“Because I love you!” he blurted.
Hayley hesitated only for a moment before she shot Zac with a heavy stream of cold water that hit him square in the chest. He blanched and looked as if he was shocked that she had actually shot him even after pleading with her. She grinned cheekily before turning and walking back into the house. She returned moments later with two towels and threw one at Zac before returning to her seat on the porch and drying herself off. She couldn’t help but smile to herself, partially because of the shocked look that had appeared on Zac’s face when she soaked him but also because of the words he had said to her.
She knew that his “I love you” wasn’t genuine. They always used that line on each other when they were trying to get their own way about something, but this time it felt different to Hayley. His words sent tingles down her spine. She even felt a little giddy, which was a little unnerving. It took her a few minutes to figure out why it felt differently this time. It was because she wanted him to say those words and mean them.
It was as if a light had come on in Hayley’s head. For weeks she had been bothered by Zac’s new relationship with Lauren, yet she hadn’t been able to figure out why she felt that way. Her sudden feelings of jealousy made sense. She had feelings for Zac. She wasn’t sure when it happened or why, but she suddenly felt fully aware of her newfound feelings. In a way, Zac had always been like her boyfriend, and while all of her other relationships had failed, the bond she shared with Zac never seemed to falter, or at least it hadn’t until Lauren came along. As Hayley sat beside Zac on his back porch, she frowned as she wondered what she was going to do.
Over the next few weeks Zac noticed a change in Hayley’s behavior. She had always been quiet around other people, but she had never been that way with him. When she was around him she was usually a complete motor mouth, but she hadn’t said much of anything to him over the past few weeks. Sure, she would answer his questions and listen to him when he was talking, but it seemed to be more out of courtesy than anything else. Her mind seemed to be elsewhere whenever they got together once a week. When he questioned her about what was on her mind, she always said it was nothing. She assured him he didn’t need to worry, but that only seemed to make him worry even more.
During lunch Hayley usually buried her nose in a book. He tried to get her to talk to him and Lauren, but it wasn’t much use. Lauren had voiced her worries that Hayley disliked her a few times, and Zac tried to reassure her that wasn’t the case, but even he was starting to believe it. When he asked Hayley if she had a problem with Lauren, she had stared at him for a long time before hurrying on to shake her head, say no and tell him how nice she was. Zac couldn’t help but think her words sounded a little practiced and forced, but he didn’t want to call Hayley a liar. She had never lied to him before, and he had no reason to distrust her now other than a sneaking suspicion, so he took her at her word.
By the time prom arrived, Zac was convinced that something was going on with Hayley. He had to convince her to even go to prom, and even after she agreed she didn’t seem at all enthused with the idea of going. He was almost positive he had seen her make a face when he suggested that she and her date, who was one of Zac’s soccer buddies he had set her up, share a limo with him and Lauren. However, he couldn’t be sure, and he couldn’t bring himself to call her out on it either.
The night of prom wasn’t at all like Zac had imagined it was going to be. The limo ride was quiet and tense, as was dinner. Hayley barely spoke to her date and halfway through prom, he wondered off to talk to his own friends and dance with other girls. Zac thought that might have upset Hayley, but she didn’t seem to mind in the least. In fact, she stationed herself at a table for most of the night and hardly spoke at all.
Finally, Zac told Lauren he would be back in a few minutes and dragged Hayley onto the dance floor. Even after he got her out on the floor, it took some coaxing to even get her to dance with him. He knew she wasn’t that fond of dancing, but when a slow song came on, she had no excuse. To his surprise she gave in and danced to the slow music, and by the end of the song she was even smiling, much to Zac’s delight. Once the song was over, she returned to her seat but seemed to be in much brighter spirits. However, it was Lauren’s mood that seemed to be on the decline after that, but Zac tried to make the best of it as the night wore on.
The next day after sleeping in until late in the afternoon, Zac awoke and was surprised by a visit from Lauren. She said she wanted to talk, so he led her out to the back porch and they sat down.
“I don’t think we should see each other anymore,” she said simply.
Zac was shocked at her words. He had known she had seemed a little upset after he danced with Hayley the night before, but he hadn’t realized it had bothered her that much. He tried to explained to her that he and Hayley were just friends, but Lauren interrupted him.
“Zac, I see the way she looks at you,” Lauren explained.
“What do you mean?” he asked, truly confused.
“She loves you.”
“We’re just friends,” Zac argued. “She doesn’t love me like that.”
“Zac, I know that look,” Lauren said firmly. “She’s in love with you, and I don’t think you’ve even realized it yet, but you love her too. I’ve seen you look at her.”
“You don’t know what you’re talking about,” Zac said.
“Yeah, I do,” she smiled at him with tears glistening in her eyes. “I’ve been hoping that eventually you’d look at me that way, but I know it’s not going to happen, so I’m just going to step out of the way.”
“Lauren,” Zac tried to reason with her as she stood up, but she shook her head.
“Don’t let her get away, Zac,” she said, bowing to kiss his cheek before she walked away leaving Zac stunned.
Even after Lauren was gone, Zac was convinced that she didn’t know what she was talking about. There was no way Hayley felt that way about him. It just seemed impossible. However, as he thought about it over the weekend, he realized that Hayley’s personality started to change after he and Lauren started dating. She also seemed pretty happy about dancing with him at the prom too, but he was sure there was some other explanation. Surely he would know if she felt like that about him. He never noticed her looking at him any differently from usual, and he certainly didn’t look at her differently than he had in the past.
On Sunday evening when he called her to make plans for the week, he decided to tell her about Lauren breaking up with him. He decided not to mention her reasons, but even after he told her that they had broken up, Hayley had been rather quiet for a moment, and he couldn’t help but notice a bit of cheerfulness in her voice no matter how well she tried to hide it. The next day at school he made it a point to take special notice of the way Hayley looked at him, and, surprisingly, he found himself wanting her to look at him differently. He wasn’t sure why, but he found himself looking at her through new eyes.
Most of his life he’d looked at her as his sidekick and sometimes still pictured her wearing a pair of overalls, a messy ponytail and covered in mud and grass stains. Sure, he was always aware that she was a girl. He couldn’t forget the few occasions she had forced him to sit in on a tea party when they were younger, but he had never stopped to think about her femininity. During lunch, he kept catching himself staring at her. He seemed a little jarred by the realization that she was rather pretty. Some of his friends had mentioned she was cute to him on occasion, but he had never thought much of it until now.
He felt like he was being thrown for a loop. All those years and all those times he had told his and Hayley’s family that they were wrong. He had sworn he and Hayley weren’t going to end up married or even dating for the matter. Now he felt he was going to have to eat his words because neither of those ideas sounded too bad to him. The only problem was he didn’t know what his next move should be. Even if Lauren was right about how Hayley felt about him, he didn’t have much time to sort things out. They would be graduating in a month. They would still have the summer, but what would happen when they went away to college? Then he thought of Lauren’s advice. “Don’t let her get away,” she had said. At the time Zac hadn’t been sure what she meant because his first thought had been that Hayley wasn’t going anywhere, but now it made sense. They would both be going away to college in the fall, so he knew he had to make his move before it was too late.
He took a deep breath and looked up from the floor and turned to Hayley. He cleared his throat and Hayley lowered the book she was reading and looked at him. He hadn’t thought about what he was actually going to say, so instead he blurted out the first thing that popped into his head, which was “I love you more than soccer.”
Hayley smiled and nodded with understanding.