A/N: I know I should be working on updating MTFBWY, but I found myself really wanting to write this. So...I did. Here it is, ladies and gentlemen, the (sort of) sequel to Meant to Be! No, you don't have to read MTB to read this, it just has a few of the same characters. This is roughly eleven years in the future, by the way. Oh, and P.S. - Sockdolager is a legit word. No joke.
Summary: An accident leaves Hannah Wilson with a prosthetic hand and no self confidence. But a charming singer thinks he can bring her out of her shell– and with the help of his band, his sister, and Hannah's best friend, she may become someone worth fighting for.
"This fucking sucks."
"Really? It fucking sucks?" Hannah Wilson chastised her best friend. "You really don't care that there's a four year old in the house, do you?"
Chloe rolled her big brown eyes dramatically. "Yes, it fucking sucks. And he's not even in the room, so chill," she said.
The two were at Hannah's house, where her three older siblings had just arrived for one big family dinner. Chloe had always been like an extended member of the Wilson family, and she had been over to work on homework all day, so the Mrs. insisted that she stay for dinner. Chloe was never one to pass up an opportunity for free food, so she accepted, but unfortunately for her, the honorary Wilson had just received a "distressing" text message.
"There's still a chance that he could walk in here and hear you," Hannah complained. "I don't want you corrupting my poor little nephew. And besides, is it really that big of a deal that your boy can't make it to your date tomorrow?"
Chloe threw a pillow at her best friend. Yes, that was the distressing news. Chloe's latest boy toy, a football player named Adam, had backed out on his promise to take her out the next day.
"Yes," the girl pouted. "I was really looking forward to that concert."
"You could always take someone else," Hannah suggested.
The instant the words were out of her mouth, the seventeen-year-old regretted saying them.
Chloe's eyes lit up. Hannah sighed. There was no turning back now; once Chloe wanted something, she whined and pleaded until she got it. "Hannah! You have to come with me!" she begged.
Hannah was about to complain when her four year old nephew, Alexander, emerged from the hallway. "Aunty Hannah, Aunty Hannah!" he said with enthusiasm as he poked his strawberry blonde head into the room. "Mommy says dinner is almost ready."
She smiled. Her sister's son was just so cute. He had just turned four, and he had a combination of Luke's blonde hair and Nettie's auburn hair. The little boy had the signature Wilson blue eyes, and he was absolutely adorable. Hannah had a huge soft spot for him.
The teen ruffled her nephew's curly hair. "Okay, bud," she answered him. "Tell your mommy that we'll be right down."
Alexander ran off, a bright smile on his face. Hannah watched him in amusement.
"Hannah," Chloe continued to beg. "Please come to the concert with me. Amber Robison's brother is in one of the bands and I think she can get us backstage! Come on, it'll be fun."
Hannah had no clue who Amber Robison was, and she had no desire to meet her brother or his band. She stared at her best friend in amazement; how was it that Chloe knew so many more people than her when they'd been attached at the hip since they were five?
"Alright, alright! Stop whining, will you?" Hannah sighed in submission as her best friend let out a victory squeal. It wasn't often that her much more outgoing friend was able to convince her to go out. Hannah was a bit of a shy person. She had been ever since she was six and had "the accident."
The two girls made their way downstairs and found Hannah's oldest sister Nettie showing Alexander how to set the table. Her husband, Luke, was in the kitchen helping Mrs. Wilson get the food ready. Hannah grinned; it had been a while since her whole family was under one roof.
"Where are Liam and Penny?" she asked her sister. Her two other siblings were noticeably absent. Come to think of it, so was her father. "And Dad?"
"Uncle Liam went to take a nap! And Aunty Penny and Grandpa went to the store!" Alexander shouted loudly. Hannah cracked another grin. That kid was just too cute.
"Oh, well thank you, Alex," she said.
"I sent your sister and your father to the store an hour ago to get more milk, but they still haven't come back," Mrs. Wilson called from the kitchen. "Lucas, dear, will you bring these to the table?"
"I got it, Mrs. W!" Chloe said. She was determined to help out in some way, so she rushed to the kitchen to grab whatever it was that needed to be set on the table. Luke backed away in surprise; Hannah's friend sure was energetic.
The man made his way out to the dining room. He gave his wife a kiss, ruffled his kid's hair, and turned to his little sister-in-law with a smile. She'd only had the time to give him a passing 'hi' when they'd first arrived; she was too engrossed in her schoolwork.
"Hey, Princess," he said.
Hannah blushed. She was a little embarrassed by the nickname and the fact that when she was younger, she had wanted to be a princess when she grew up. She knew that she had told Luke – who wasn't even dating her sister at the time – that she was planning on living in a castle and owning a unicorn one day.
"Hi, Lukey," she replied. At least she had a nickname for him, too.
Lucas Fort was twenty-seven, but he didn't look it. If it were possible, Hannah thought that he looked almost exactly the same as he had when she'd met him more than ten years ago. It was hard to believe that he had a four year old kid running around. It was even harder to believe that her nitpicky sister had managed to snag such a good guy.
"It's been a while," Luke said with a grin. "You look just as beautiful as ever."
Across the room, Nettie rolled her eyes. "Luke, please stop hitting on my little sister and come control your child!" Alexander was running in circles around the table, pulling on the tablecloth as he did so. Nettie tried to steady all of the plates and glass cups that were dangerously shifting with the cloth, but if someone didn't stop the kid soon, Mrs. Wilson would lose almost all of her kitchen ware.
"Sorry, dear," Luke said. With one last wink at Hannah, he scooped his son up and fixed his shirt. Somehow, the four year old had managed to unbutton it.
Hannah laughed. The Forts sure had their hands full.
"What the hell is going on in here?" a strong male voice asked. Hannah spun around; her older brother Liam had just entered the scene. His brown hair a mess and his blue eyes glistening in irritation, he looked just the same as he always did. Annoyed.
Chloe jumped off the kitchen counter and collided with her best friend's brother in a massive hug. "Liam!" she shouted into his chest.
"What the fu-"
"Liam," Nettie warned. "Stop swearing around my son."
"I will as soon as Hannah's crazy friend gets off of me," he said as he pried the brunette away from him. "Why is she here, anyway?"
Hannah let out a giggle. Chloe had always had a thing for her older brother, which was a little weird, but more than a little funny. "We were working on a project and Mom asked her to stay for dinner," she explained. "Sorry."
"You look even sexier than the last time I saw you, Liam!" Chloe flirted shamelessly. She'd always been rather….forward. "Still no girlfriend?"
Liam sighed. Back at the auto shop, he never had to deal with younger girls hitting on him. Actually, he didn't really have to deal with younger girls at all. The only time he did was when he came to his parents' house and his little sister's annoying friends were over.
"Still pining after my dork of a twin brother, Chloe?" Penny said from the doorway. She and Mr. Wilson had just come back from the store, each carrying three large grocery bags filled with who knows what.
"Penny!" Hannah gave her sister a hug.
"Aunty P!" Alexander wrapped himself around Penny's legs.
"Jeez, you guys, I wasn't gone that long," the twenty-three year old said. She put down her groceries and returned the hugs.
"Hey, Pen," Chloe said happily. "To answer your question, yes, I am still pining after your dork of a brother. I can't help it, he's just so cute!" To emphasize her point, the girl pinched Liam's cheeks. He brushed her off with an irritated scowl.
Hannah chuckled and helped her father put the groceries away. It turned out that he and her sister had bought a lot more than just milk – no wonder it took them so long.
Soon enough, dinner was ready, Alexander was calm enough to sit down, and Chloe had stopped attacking Liam with hugs. And so Hannah Wilson had an entertaining and delicious dinner with her seven favorite people. Life was good.
"No way, Chloe! I'm not wearing that."
The brunette frowned. "Why not? You would look so cute!"
Hannah scoffed. More like she would look so slutty. Chloe was trying to get her to put on a little black dress that was just what it sounded like – a little black dress. It was strapless, short, and skin tight; there was no way Hannah was going near that thing. It was a concert, for God's sake, not a strip club!
"What's wrong with what I'm wearing now?" she asked her friend. She saw no problems with her dark skinny jeans and blue cardigan sweater. And even if there was a problem with her outfit, it wasn't like she had anyone to impress, anyway.
Chloe sighed heavily. The girl was obsessed with looking her best no matter what, and often times her "best" was what Hannah considered a little pretentious. The two were incredibly different; it was a wonder how they had become so close. "You look fine, Hannah, but I was hoping you'd get a little dolled up for this. Come on, it's about time we got you a boyfriend, don't you think?"
Hannah's pulse quickened. "No!" she protested. "You know I'm still not entirely comfortable with myself. I don't even like going out. What if someone looks at me weird?"
"Nobody will look at you weird!" Chloe said. Her best friend was being ridiculous. "Your prosthetic hand is nothing, H. People won't even notice, and if they did, they won't care."
Hannah knew that her friend was probably right, but she couldn't help being self-conscious about it. It was one of those things she had a hard time getting over.
It was all the fire's fault. When Hannah Wilson was six years old, a fire broke out while she was playing at a friend's house. Shocked and afraid, little Hannah ran to get out of the smoke and flames but hit her head on a dresser and passed out. She inhaled a lot of smoke and burned her left hand to a crisp. Ever since the accident, she'd been extremely insecure about her fake hand – no matter how much people told her it didn't matter, she'd always feel weird about it.
"But I can't have a boyfriend," Hannah told her friend. "What if I got one, and he didn't want to hold my hand because it's not real? He might think I'm some sort of freak."
Chloe rolled her eyes. "First of all, you have two hands. Second, any boy would be lucky to hold either of them, and third, you are not a freak. So stop being such a little whiny bitch and just come out with me!"
After a few seconds of hesitation, Hannah frowned and submitted. "Fine," she said. "But I'm not wearing that dress. Don't you have something else for me to wear?"
"Yay!" Chloe clapped in excitement. "And yes, I do, dearie. Just give me a second to find something that you might like better."
"Thank you," Hannah said. Hopefully this next outfit wouldn't be so…skanky.
She was lucky – it wasn't. The next number Chloe pulled out was a yellow dress, one that actually had straps and wasn't skin tight, and Hannah agreed to wear it. The skirt was laced and poofy, which Hannah liked, but it was a bit short. She put it on anyway; you had to choose your battles when Chloe Brooks was your best friend.
After slipping on a gray sweater jacket and some flats, Hannah hopped into Chloe's tiny sedan and they drove off and into the city.
Amber Robison was a spunky, auburn-haired beauty that had graduated high school the previous year. She was a smart girl, but she wasn't attending college. Amber had chosen to take a year or two off to just relax and enjoy life while helping manage her brother's lame band, Sockdolager.
She thought it was a stupid name, one meaning a loud and sudden noise, but the boys got angry with her when she complained, so she stopped speaking up about it. It wasn't her band, anyway, so she gave up on even trying.
"Hey, losers, you're on in thirty seconds," she shouted to the band. They were at the local Battle of the Bands show, about to rock the stage and take the trophy. At least that's what Leland Robison, lead singer of Sockdolager, was sure of.
"Thanks, sis," Leland shouted over his shoulder. He ran his hands through his shaggy blonde hair. He was nervous, of course, but not overly so – he knew that his band was going to win. They were good, and most of the other bands playing that night kind of sucked, so it would be a piece of cake. At least, it should have been a piece of cake.
Amber observed from backstage as her brother took the mic. She had to admit, Sockdolager played decent music. They weren't anything spectacular, like U2 or Nirvana or Queen, but they were alright. It helped that the four boys had been best friends since high school. They had a kind of chemistry that was hard to find in the music industry.
"Hey everyone," Leland said into the microphone. Amber heard a few girls whistle and rolled her eyes. What was it about musicians that girls found attractive? She preferred the smart ones herself. "We are Sockdolager and we're here to rock your world!"
The band started playing their first song and Leland took the long instrumental intro to get into the groove of performing. It'd been a while since their last gig and he was nervous – what was he going to do if they didn't win?
His eyes wandered to the audience as he tapped his foot to the beat of the song. Two girls in the front row caught his eye; he was sure that one of them had gone to school with his sister. She was one of those beautiful exotic girls, with dark, thick curls and cappuccino colored skin. The other he didn't recognize, but she was pretty, too. Brown hair, fair complexion, and light blue eyes – he wondered why he'd never seen her around before.
Leland brought himself back to reality just in time for the beginning of the vocals. Forgetting about the girls completely, the boy sang his heart out, his powerful voice echoing throughout the building.
Afterwards, the band made their way out on the dance floor to mingle with the party-goers.
"Good job, guys," Amber told them when they jumped off stage.
Taking a big gulp of water, the drummer replied, "As usual, babe," with a wink. The nineteen-year-old rolled her eyes and walked up to her big brother – he was grinning for no apparent reason.
"We totally won," Leland said happily. "Don't you think? I mean, we were the best…right?"
"Sure," Amber said. She then spotted a familiar face and waved her over. It was Chloe Brooks.
"Hey, Amber!" Chloe embraced the older girl with a smile. "Long time no see!"
Amber smiled at her acquaintance. "Yeah, I haven't seen you since design class last year," she said. The two had talked over the internet and on the phone a few times, but nothing major. They only interacted enough for Amber to know that she'd be coming to the show.
"This is my best friend Hannah Wilson," Chloe said. Amber shook hands with the quiet girl, who muttered "nice to meet you," and turned to the band.
"This is my brother, Leland," she motioned to the singer. "And these are his friends: Rowan, Wesley, and Lukewarm."
All of Amber's boys were attractive. Hannah blushed slightly as she shook hands with each one of them. Leland, Amber's brother, strangely didn't fit the image of a rock singer. Instead of dark hair and stubble, he was graced with blonde hair and green eyes. If Hannah hadn't known better, she'd think he was more of a sporty guy than the musical type. Rowan, the bass player, had dark hair and cold, silver eyes – he seemed really distant and mysterious. Hannah figured that Chloe would latch onto him like a leech.
Wesley played the guitar. He shook Hannah's hand with enthusiasm and a flirty smile; his dirty blonde hair intentionally messy and warm brown eyes twinkling with playfulness. Lastly was Lukewarm, the drummer. He had the same brown hair and blue eyes as Hannah.
"Lukewarm?" Chloe asked curiously. "That's an interesting name."
Amber laughed. "It's not his real name," she explained. "Come on, let's go get a drink."
Hannah wanted Amber to explain more, but nobody spoke up so she just followed the band and her best friend over to the bar. She felt uneasy with the group of people – there were so many new faces and she was only seventeen. Drinking was a big no-no in her eyes.
Chloe, however, felt differently – she flirted her way into getting Rowan to buy her a beer. He and Lukewarm, she learned, were twenty-one. Leland and Wesley were a year younger, but they drank anyway. "Why not?" they said when Rowan offered to buy for them. "We did just own the stage."
The seven of them sat down in a booth off in the corner of the venue. Hannah sat in awkward silence, listening to the others laugh and reminisce on memories she was not a part of. She felt left out, but she should've known it would turn out this way. That was why she didn't go out. Well, that and she didn't like people eying her prosthetic hand.
She fidgeted with it as she listened to the story of Lukewarm's name, which was finally being told after twenty minutes of meaningless conversation. Hannah's ears perked up; she wanted to hear this.
"It's all stupid Cynthia Rodell's fault," Lukewarm said bitterly. "Because of her, these idiots won't call me by my real name anymore."
"Who is Cynthia Rodell?" Hannah asked. It was the first thing she'd said since they sat down. The group looked at her in surprise as if they'd forgotten she was there. Yeah, that sure made her feel awesome.
"She was a groupie that was totally in love with Rowan," Leland explained, not missing a beat. Hannah felt a surge of appreciation for the boy who wasn't shocked by her voice. "We haven't heard from her in a while, though."
"Thank God," Rowan said. "She was annoying as hell."
"But she was hot!" Wesley exclaimed. "I can't believe you never even made out with her. I would've totally hit that if I were you."
Amber laughed. "Wesley was jealous because Rowan got all the fangirls," she explained. "So he asked her one day why she chose him and not any of the other three."
"What did she say?" Chloe asked. Hannah noticed that she was on the edge of her seat from the story. She laughed; her best friend found the most trivial things exciting.
"She said that Wesley was too obnoxious, Leland was too much of a genuine nice guy, and Lucas wasn't hot enough. She stated, and I quote, 'He's not really, like, hot…he's more, like….lukewarm. Like water that's been out in the sun too long, you know?'"
As everyone laughed (sans Lukewarm), Hannah announced, "My brother-in-law's name is Lucas, too."
It was a stupid and irrelevant fact, and she cursed herself for bringing it up when everyone else was busting up laughing. She was sure from looking at everyone's faces that they thought she was rude for interrupting the mood.
Only one face didn't show what Hannah thought was disappointment. "Cool," Leland said to her with a bright smile.
Hannah grinned. She was starting to like Amber's brother more and more as the night went on. Cynthia Rodell was right when she said that he was a genuine nice guy.
After the story of Lukewarm's ridiculous nickname, Hannah started contributing to the conversations more. Leland offered her a drink, but she declined politely. Chloe eyed the exchange and wiggled her eyebrows at Hannah, who glared in response. She may have been talking to Leland the most out of the group, but she barely knew the guy. She was just glad that he wasn't ignoring her.
An hour and a half passed before Sockdolager was crowned winner of the battle round. Upon hearing the news, the boys cheered and jumped and ordered even more drinks. Hannah still felt uncomfortable about all the alcohol, but she brushed it aside. She was actually starting to have a good time.
While Hannah talked to the Robisons and Lukewarm about life in general, Chloe flirted heavily with both Rowan and Wesley. While Rowan was more of the type to play hard to get, Wesley flirted back like crazy. Hannah got the feeling that he was one of those guys who couldn't keep it in his pants for very long.
"Whose phone is that?" Leland asked suddenly.
Hannah's face turned red when she realized that it was hers – and her ringtone was "Hit Me Baby One More Time" by Britney Spears. "Oh," she said. "That's mine." Embarrassed by her song choice, she pulled her little smart phone out of her purse and answered it.
"Hello?" It was loud near the bar and she could barely hear.
"Hannah?" It was her mother.
"Hi, Mom," she said. Now she was even more embarrassed. She was surely the youngest one in the group, since Chloe was a full nine months older, and there she was talking to her mom on the phone while all the others got smashed without a worry.
"Are you coming home soon? You have school in the morning," Mrs. Wilson said. Normally, Hannah would be home finishing up homework on a Sunday night, but it was almost eight o'clock and she hadn't been home all day.
"Yeah, I'll be home soon. I'm just hanging out with Chloe and some friends." Hannah tried to ignore the looks she was getting from the band, Amber, and even her best friend. She knew they were being quiet so she could hear better, but it was unnerving to know that they were listening in on her conversation.
"Friends?" her mother asked. "People I know, I trust?"
"Mom," Hannah said. She really didn't need one of her mother's paranoid lectures at the moment. "You know Chloe. It's fine. I'll see you soon," she finished.
"Alright. I love you."
"Love you too."
Hannah hung up and turned to the group of people surrounding her. "Um," she said. "My mom wants me to come home soon…I kind of have school tomorrow."
"School?" Lukewarm asked. "You're still in high school?"
Hannah blinked. Had she not mentioned that? Had Chloe not mentioned that? Well, actually…of course Chloe wouldn't mention it. But she was sure that Amber must've told the boys at some point.
"Uh, yes," Hannah replied awkwardly.
"Give me your phone," Leland announced out of the blue. Hannah eyed him strangely. "Come on, hand it over."
She gave him her phone and he took out his. "You seriously need a new ringtone. I'm thinking…some Sockdolager tunes maybe?" he grinned and sent her the audio recording of one of their songs. He then went through her settings and changed it to her ringtone. "Much better."
"Oh, and now you have my number," Leland continued. "You know, in case you ever want to talk or something. Or if hearing my voice every time you get a call just isn't enough for you."
"Oh…kay," Hannah blushed. Chloe wiggled her eyebrows some more, but this time Hannah didn't even bother glaring. It was no use.
"Well, sorry boys, but it sounds like we gotta leave," Chloe slurred. Hannah briefly wondered just how many drinks the girl had had.
"We should hang out again soon," Amber said. "I like you guys."
"Yeah," Chloe said. "We totally should. Don't you think we totally should, H?"
"Absolutely," Hannah said with an eye roll. "Now come on, Chloe, let's get you home. Give me the keys, I'm driving."
"Wha – why? I'm fine."
"No, you're not." Hannah stood and pulled her friend to her feet. "Bye Amber; thanks for hanging out with us."
"What about us?" Wesley prodded. "You didn't like hanging out with us? But we're famous!"
"You're not famous," Chloe said. "You're just a local band."
Hannah let out a small laugh. "Bye, Wesley. Bye, Leland. Bye, Rowan, and bye, Lukewarm."
"Bye, ladies! See you soon!"
Hannah was in a strangely good mood when she got home. It was the first time in a while that she'd gone out with new people and actually made some friends. Nobody had commented on her robotic hand, and nobody had called her a freak. Chloe had actually been right for once.
The teen finished up her homework and checked her email before going to bed. She was surprised to find several emails from facebook in her inbox.
Leland Robison has requested to be your friend, the first one said. Hannah beamed. How did he find her on facebook? She didn't even remember telling him her last name. She pressed accept and moved onto the next one.
Amber Robison has requested to be your friend, it read. Accepted.
Wesley Cooper has requested to be your friend.
Rowan Atkinson has requested to be your friend.
Lucas Tillman has requested to be your friend.
Accepted, accepted, accepted. The smile on her face was now bigger than ever. She didn't think that the band actually liked her all that much, but apparently they liked her enough to track her down on the web and send her friend requests. It was probably all Chloe's idea, but that didn't matter. What mattered was that she had had a good time with people she barely knew, and that they had had a good time with her.
Hannah sensed that these people would make for a very interesting future. She couldn't have been more correct.