Chapter 1: Did You Come Here Alone?
i opened the door to the bar, a welcoming gust of heat met to thaw my frozen skin. The place was crowded and i almost bolted back out the door if it wasn't for the menacing chill that was waiting for me.The noise of talking mixed with the thump of the music was almost overwhelming but i tried to let it dorwn out my self doubt.
Every inch of the bar was packed. i managed to squeeze in between two filled barstools, neither person bothered to look at me as i stood side ways trying to get the attention of the bartender. If i was going to loosen up i was going to need to start off strong. I ordered two shots, tossing back both before ordering a whiskey and coke. I put a couple dollars in the tip jar and set out to find a seat.
I took sips of my drink as i weaved through bodies, some dancing, some arguing, a few of the drunker ones i had to dodge as they stumbled in front of me. A hot pool of liquid was settling in my stomach from the shots.
The crowd thinned the further back i got and there was a small empty table around the pool tables. I set my drink down and looked at the tables around me. Men slouched and took lazy pulls from their beers, the tables were covered in drinks, and groups of guys were talking loudly, lots of laughing and indistiguishable conversation came from the few pool tables, the sound of cue balls cracking against each other.
i slipped off my coat, laying it on the back of the chair. I sensed the heads that turned, and the side eyes, but i didn't pay much mind. I wasn't here to get anybodys attention, even if my skin tight long sleeve black dress said differently in the heads of lesser men. Tonight was my night reassimilate with the world, the dress made me feel good, that simple.
I sat down and took a large gulp of my whiskey, ready to feel the numbing affect of the alcohol. Now that my mission of finding a seat was accomplished I felt uncomfortable with no purpose.
I turned towards the deep voice, to find a tall familiar figure looming over me. I smiled warmly, happy to see a face I recognized
I didn't know him well, more of a friend of a friend type situation, but we'd always gotten along, and at this point I would have taken worse company if it meant feeling less out of place. his tall slender figure was relaxed as he leaned on the pool stick.
I asked gesturing towards the stick.
"Yeah, about to start the next game, I was looking for a partner actually. Care to fill the position?"
He offered, quirking a naturally perfect brow.
"you sure about that? you don't know if I'm any good."
I challenged, noting the slightly flirtatious that I had accidently taken. He chuckled and stood up straighter, sliding his hand down the pool stick, somehow managing to look even more domineering.
"Maybe not, but I know that I could take those two idiots on my own, cause I am that good."
There was a pause as our eyes seemed to lock and I felt a sudden thrill at his seemingly innocent words. I stood up, accepting his invitation and made my way over to pick out my own stick as he sauntered to the pool table. I was happy to have something to do, time to kill. at this point the shots were starting to do their job and I was feeling fuzzy around the edges.
I went back to my drink, stick in hand, and watched Luke worked as I sipped absently at the strong beverage. His dark maroon sweater was pushed up to his elbows, revealing skin covered in tattoos. I bit my lip as I felt myself slip further into the liquid haze. He stood up, taking the triangle ball holder off the table and a guy I had never seen before stood at the opposite end of the table.
I walked closer, standing off tot he side of table. another guy came to stand next to me, one I vaguely remembered meeting, some party I could hardly recall I assumed.
He gave me a genuine smile, accompanied by a curious gaze. I nodded, racking my brain trying to come up with the start of a name.
"Michael, we met once, but I think you were more focused on a man named Jack Daniels."
He teased, I gave a good natured chuckle and nodded.
"sounds about right, no man's ever treated me as good as whiskey"
I retorted, only being a little bit bitter, thinking of my sudden lack of man that had brought me out to the bar in the first place.
"speaking of," He started off, hesitantly, "Where is the man, left him at home tonight?"
He asked, only being kind of subtle. I gave him a tight lipped smile, and a shake of my head
"More like left him in general, or actually he left me."
I shrugged, not want to go any further with and explanation, I was out tonight to forget him not to relive my humiliation during a game of pool. Which it seemed his partner was doing pretty good at, he was lining up his second shot, I noted that they were striped which meant I should avoid those, if nothing else.
"Then it sounds like you could use some Jack then. Let me grab you something."
He offered, nudging my shoulder with his, Luke looked like he was trying very hard to watch the other guy play pool, but I could feel him listening into our conversation. not that I thought there was much to listen to. I pointed to my half empty drink sitting at the little empty table.
"I'm good for now, thanks though."
I appreciated the offer, and if he was hitting on me it wasn't obnoxious enough for me to really notice, I figured he was feeling sorry for me more than anything. he clicked his tongue in mock dissatisfaction.
"Nonsense, I'm gonna go grab us some shots, you better have that drink finished when I come back young lady."
He wagged a finger at me and left his pool stick leaned against table. I smiled as he walked away, I was starting to feel more comfortable and I felt like Michael was an easy person to get along with. I picked up my drink and dutifully started finishing it, truly not minding a free shot. Luke was making his way around the table as the guy I'd yet to be introduced to lined up the third shot, I didn't remember seeing him make the second but this one hit the edge next to the hole and rolled lamely to the center of the table.
"not bad Calum, better than I thought you'd do." Luke joked as the black haired guy I now knew as Calum tried to whack him with his pool cue. He easily dodged it and turned to smirk at me, "You wanna take a stab at it, or should I start us off?" He pondered.
I held up my drink, now almost finished, "I was instructed to have this gone, and I'm on a time limit here, so you outa go first."
He laughed, "Yeah Michael is a very generous drink buyer. Don't let him pressure you too much, you'll end up passed out on this pool table." He joked
I looked like I was contemplating the idea. "Not a bad way to end the night." I commented, taking the last large gulp. I cringed, really tasting as well as feeling the whiskey. Just in time too because Michael came walking through the crowd, somehow managing to balance four shots and two full drinks on a paper plate, nearly getting taken down by a sloppy drunken girl struggling with a broken high heel.
"Stop what you're doing! I've brought shots!" Michael announced as if we might need to evacuate the bar. Calum groaned but took his, as Michael cheerily handed me and Luke one, setting the paper plate and drinks down.
"To...to finally beating Luke at a game of pool!" He toasted, lifting his plastic shot glass above his head. We raised ours in return
"To pipe dreams!" Luke responded much to Michael's chagrin. I giggled, knowing I was already drunk from what I'd had and clinked my shot against theirs, take it in one big swallow.
I shouted, letting the harshness wash over my body, I shook my hair out, not letting my body reject it. Luke rubbed a hand on the center of my back, smiling a lopsided grin, his blonde spikey hair was in a disarray and it gave him a boyish sort of charm.
"You good?" He asked, chuckling. I nodded, "Yeah, I feel great actually." And I truly meant it, which surprised me. I was glad I had ran into him, I was already having more fun than I had thought I would when I forced myself to go out. "Now, go put some balls in holes!" I instructed, he gave my back one last small rub and I felt the absence of heat as he walked over to the pool table, examining his options. He leaned over the table, lining up a ball that seemed nearly impossible to make, in my eyes. Never the less, he pulled the stick back with confidence and made contact with the ball, as if afraid to upset him it did a number of ridiculous ricochets and spun neatly into a cup as if dramatically finishing an elegant dance.
I looked at him wide eyed, maybe it was the liquor, but I was a bit more than impressed. he winked at me, knowing just how good he was, before looking back at the table to choose his next magic trick.
Suddenly Michael was beside me, holding out an amber drink. I took it with a question mark painted on my face.
"Honey whiskey cocktail." He answered, I nodded, not upset. I took a small sip. It was delicious.
"Mmm, yummy." I said, giving him a wide smile, I could feel how hot my cheeks were, from the booze and I liked it. That warm feeling. There was another crack in the air as Luke expertly used on of the opposing teams balls to land one of ours in.
"Do me a favor," Michael whispered, side eyeing Luke, I instinctively leaned closer to him, waiting. "Try not to compliment him too much, he already thinks he's the prodigal son of the pool gods, he doesn't need the ego boost, I promise."
I laughed a little harder than I needed to but it felt good to laugh again, I'd spent so much of the last month just mopping around.
"Duly noted." Me and Michael stood together like that, and watched Luke make another two insane shots before finally missing.
"Finally!" Michael made an exaggerated move to the table as if it was a body of fresh water and he'd been walking through the desert for days. "I thought I'd never get a chance to play." Luke started walking towards the bar, pulling some wadded up ones from his back pocket.
"Why don't you hurry up and miss so (Y/N) can clean up the rest of this table." Then Luke was lost in the crowd and I threw up my hands in surrender.
"My goal is to not send the white ball flying off the table to be honest." I admitted, not because I thought I was that bad at pool but because I was a light weight and I was feeling a little floaty. I decided to leave my drink alone for a bit, not minding the level that I was on right then and knowing I wouldn't be coherent for much longer if I tried to surpass it.
"Don't worry, you can't be any worse than Michael." Calum assured me, and I threw my shoulders back, giving him a stoic look
"Okay, I can do this."
Michael, lined up an obvious shot and made it, lined up the next and missed. I was examining the table when Luke came strolling back. I bent down, the shot didn't seem too hard to make but I wasn't sure my eyesight was reliable. Luke leaned on the table next to me, watching me, I tried not to let it throw me off. I focused on the ball and made my shot. It didn't exactly go straight in but it made its way there, bouncing off a corner and making it in. I stood up smiling, feeling pretty good with myself. Luke gave me an approving nod, "Not bad, but you have no clue how to hold that thing." He gestured down to my pool cue.
I shrugged, "I kinda just picked it up while drinking so, not exactly a professional lesson by any means." I admitted, He stepped closer to me "If you're gonna be my partner you're gonna need a quick crash course."
He positioned himself behind me, kind of 'prom picture' style, cradling my hands in his he slid them along the stick, his body wasn't exactly flush with mine but there wasn't enough space to keep us from brushing against each other. he moved so I was now bending over. His hips were against my ass for just a moment and then he was off to my side again, but it was enough to make me hot. He put his face close to mine and moved my hand again. It took me a second to realize he was actually talking to me and I tried to tune into what he was saying about my grip.
"And now you just need to pick a ball and find a route." He added. I gave one curt nod. I was no longer focused on playing pool but I did feel like I had more control over how I hit the cue ball. I hit the ball with a quick confidence and watched it hit one wall and go straight into a cup on the opposite end. I did a little hop, excited for myself, I turned and high fived Luke who was giving me an intense gaze. nearly stopping me short. He seemed to notice me noticing a change in him and he dropped his eyes, the right side of his mouth twitching up.
"Okay now do that again." I bit my lip but did as I was told and tried to line up my third shot, I missed but didn't feel too bad about it. Michael rubbed the back of his neck and looked at the ground.
"Dang, I was hoping I'd look good in comparison." I patted him on the back and gave him my most sympathetic look.
"Hey bud, it's okay, maybe you should have Luke teach you how to play." Calum and Luke laughed heartily and Michael flipped me off but didn't really look upset.
In the end we won by a long run, and I was feeling pretty proud of myself, I don't know if I was much help but I definitely didn't hinder us. At that point my drink was pretty much gone, and not every sentence was coming out as clear as I would have liked but I was still walking pretty steadily.
"I think it's time for a smoke." Michael announced, clasping his hands together.
"Sounds good to me, but I'm gonna need a refresher."
Luke replied holding up his empty drink.
I chirped, smiling bashfully at Michael, who rolled his eyes and looked at Calum.
"We're both losers here, so you're splitting it with me."
Calum got up from his seat with a reluctant sigh and followed Michael to the bar. Luke and I sat down at the two person table I had claimed as mine. He leaned his elbows on the table and I leaned in without thinking about it.
"You make a good partner." He remarked, tracing a pattern onto the stained table top.
"Thanks," I replied, "You make a good teacher." He smiled at me, his eyes were warm, deep, like I could swim in them for hours, without my fingers ever getting pruny. I became overwhelmed, like if I stared for too long I would reach a point of no return although I don't know how exactly.
"I'm also really glad I ran into you tonight, I was actually dreading going out." I admitted quietly, almost like I didn't want him to hear me.
"Not that I'm not happy I ran into you, because I am," He started, "But why were you out tonight alone, if you didn't want to be?" He finished, when I looked at him again his brows were furrowed like someone had handing him sheet music for the tuba and he was holding a clarinet. I sighed, mentally sifting through the important details and the painful ones.
"The guy that I was with, he ended things with me, about a month ago. Completely out of the blue actually, the night before he's telling me how much he loves me and the next thing I know it's over because he needed to 'experience more,'" I spat out the phrase that he had used that day, hating the way it rolled in my mouth, like black licorice dipped in paint thinner. "Apparently, 'experience more' means sleep with my roommate." Luke cringed as I finished my sad story. At this point the boys were walking back to us and I stood up, brushing off my dress, hoping the scummy feeling that talking about my ex brought would be brushed off too.
"Come on, let's smoke." Michael demanded, handing me my drink. I started to follow and Luke grabbed my elbow, holding me back for a moment and giving me a look that left me feeling stripped and vulnerable.
"He must have been the most clueless jerk on the planet. I hope the next guy knows what he's got."
They could have been corny cheesy words, but the way he said them left them feeling weighted, I felt them settle in the bottom of my ribcage and I pushed back the sudden prick of tears.
"Let's go smoke." I echoed Michael's words but gave him a smile that I hopped would let him know just how thankful I was for this whole night.
Chapter 2: Nicotine High
Picking up where we left off
We walked outside and I immediately realized I'd left my coat. The cold washed over my body, instantly penetrating through the thin material of my dress. I crossed my arms over my body, hoping that I could hold in some of the heat. Michael held out a cigarette and I opened my mouth, not wanting to take away my only warmth barrier he chuckled, setting it on my lip and lighting it up for me.
"Cold?" Luke asked, smirking at me and my shivering body.
"A little. " I replied indignity around the smoke in my mouth. He chuckled and grabbed my waist pulling me close to him. "I'd give you my jacket if I had one, but you'll just have to settle for my body heat." He commented coolly, Initially I was startled, but he was warm and smelled so good, like a lumberjack in a library. It took everything in my drunken ape mind not to press my nose against him and inhale. His arm was draped lazily over me like we had done this a hundred times before. There was a small eyebrow raise from Michael but there was nothing else in his expression that I could read so I didn't know if he was annoyed or simply surprised.
I took the cig out of my mouth, blowing out smoke. I didn't smoke unless I was drinking, couldn't stand the taste unless I was too numb to taste it. The nicotine high started to blend into my drunkenness. At this point I was just holding my drink for looks, unless I wanted to force the boys to carry me to my cab I did need to slow down.
"So how long have youthhree knowen each other?" My words ran together but I did my best to sound like a relatively coherent human being. They all gave me knowing little smiles and I was tempted to make them chug their drinks so someone could be on my level.
"Since freshman year of high school." Calum answered, he seemed like the most sober out of the three of them, almost as if he wasn't drunk at all.
"No offness," I mispronounced. "But you don't seem like you're running in the similar group." At this point I was just throwing in bigger syllable words hoping to seem less intoxicated but the amused looks on their faces told me I wasn't fooling anyone. I wasn't wrong though, they didn't look like the type of guys you'd peg as friends. Michael with his dyed hair, and punk rock vibe clashed with Calum and his more sporty, preppy, boy style, even Luke gave off a certain air of loner that didn't seem to fit with the other boys, still they all seemed oddly close, despite their differences.
"Well then you're not very perceptive, we all have one hobby in common that brought us together." Luke teased, looked down at me, I slouched further in his side, taking another drag and sizing them up.
"Skateboarding?" I guessed feebly. Michael shook his head, it was dark, with only a street lamp at the end of the block and the red hot end of his cigarette to give any detail to his face. I took a sip of the drink in my hand, forgetting my resolve earlier to leave it be for a bit.
"mmmSssscrapbooking." I threw out, not knowing what else to say but earning a chuckle from the three of them, Luke's body pressed even closer to me as his chest rumbled lightly with laughter.
"Close," He replied, humoring me, "Music, we were...are, all music nerds." He self corrected
"You mean band geeks?" I questioned incredulously. Michael laughed even harder this time, although I wasn't trying to be funny.
"Do I look like I'm a trumpet kind of guy." I looked him up and down, his leather jacket, torn up black skinny jeans, even his converse where tattered and drawn on.
"Nah, I'd peg you as a flute man." I teased, he stuck a tongue out at me, good naturedly.
"Guitar, Electric." He said proudly, puffing his chest out. I nodded, impressed, looking to Calum expectantly.
"I'm the bass player." He stated bashfully.
"Integral pl-part." I complimented, and he looked grateful, not minding my slurs. I looked up at Luke, waiting for his answer. He looked down, his eyes holding something unsaid, I felt like there was a conversation he was having with himself, something apart from us, and I got the feeling that he was far away from us at that moment. My lips parted, wanting to know what he was thinking, to feel what he was feeling. He cleared his throat, and his eyes seemed to change, the cloud of thought passing and I straightened up, the spell was broken and I was very aware and embarrassed of our closeness suddenly.
"Same as Michael, guitar." He said, his voice a bit more formal than it had been all night.
"Um, no, not same as Michael." Michael passionately retorted, "Luke sings." He finished, giving Luke a pointed look. Luke looked at the ground, it was an odd contrast to the cool confidence he'd been shrouded in all night.
"Michael sings too, so does Calum." Luke muttered, defensively.
"We don't sing like Luke sings." Calum said to me, it felt like this was a reoccurring discussion that I was now finding myself in the middle of. I nudged Luke as he sucked on his cigarette, it was almost at the butt and I was ready to go in, even if it meant having to pull away from Luke.
"Yousshould be proud of your taw-talents." I stated with as much conviction as I could muster with a mouth full of boozy marbles. He gave me a shy little smile but nudged me back, and I took it as a thank you, feeling pleased with myself. I felt his muscles relax, the boys were putting out their cigs and I took one last drag. My head was mixed with booze and nicotine and I felt so good if just a tad nauseous. I honestly wasn't ready to end my night with these boys.
"I gotta say, I'm over the bar seen." Michael commented, scratching his faded fire truck hair. My heart sank, but I tried not to let the hurt show on my face, still I think Luke could sense the air being let out of my sails and he looked down at me curiously.
"I've been waiting for you to say something, I'm so ready to be able to actually drink." Calum gave an exasperated sigh, "You know if you're going to make me be the D&D you shouldn't buy me drinks, it's tough to pace myself." Michael gave him an overly sympathetic look, like he was Calum's grandma and had just heard Calum hadn't eaten all day.
"How about I make it up to you? We'll play a game of beer pong, and I'll kick your ass so hard you have no choice but to get drunk." he put a hand over his heart, and Calum covered his hand with his own, they looked into each other's eyes with an exaggerated amount of love.
"That is so sweet. Thank you." Calum affirmed. I smiled at them but pulled away from Luke, the cold instantly biting into all the spots he'd been keeping warm.
"Well, thanks...for the gr-good night guys. I had lots of fun." I stammered, all three of them looked at me like I told them I'd only been dressed as a woman all night.
"What are you talking about?" Michael inquired. "Beer pong is a four person game. Also, dibs on (Y/N) as my beer pong partner." Michael demanded, pointing at Luke and grabbing my elbow, making my drink slosh on the side. I laughed, not believing my luck, part of me knew that a month ago I would have never let three basically strangers drag me back to their places to keep drinking, but then again a month ago I would have let myself miss out on a lot of things to keep my boyfriend happy. Plus this was the whole point wasn't it? Why I came out tonight, to get back in touch with the world? Luke looked at me, his eyes full of expectations.
"Do you want to come?" He asked, it was a gentle question, one that said he understood if I didn't but that he wanted me to just the same. I nodded, slowly and then more sure,
"Yes, I do." They all gave me big smiles and I returned them whole heartedly.
"But, she's my teammate for beer pong. I called dibs for the night." Luke declared, challenging Michael, who immediately started arguing with his point. I laughed and looked at my drink, there was still quite a bit left but if we were playing beer pong I was going to need some water for the ride. I left it sitting on a ledge as we walked back into the bar, I walked over to my coat, a smile still resting on my face. Luke followed me as the other two went to clean up their cluttered table.
"You sure you want to come back with us? I mean, I want you to, I just want you to feel comfortable." He was rubbing the back of his neck as he leaned against the table, he looked up at me from underneath his thick lashes. I took a sharp inhale, liquor had a way of forcing your brain to simplify things. instead of thinking of the emotional turmoil I'd been through this month, or how I hadn't come out with any sort of intentions, or how my heart was still broken, my brain made things really simple. Looking at Luke, the way he was, kind and bashful, yet so sure of his place, all I knew was that he was handsome as hell. I liked looking at him, I liked being around him, the only thing he had done all night was make me feel good, happy, and accepted. I squeezed his arm, holding my coat close to my chest.
"I'm sure. Thank you for asking." He gave me a smile that crinkled his eyes around the edges, he looked so much younger with his face colored in joy. A contagious sort of smile. I beamed back at him unable to help myself. Something caught my eye over his shoulder, a familiar tuft of hair, and suddenly my face dropped.
"(Y/N)? What's wrong?"
He started to turn, and I grabbed his shoulder again.
"Please get me out of here right now." I begged with an urgency I didn't mean to convey. I still wasn't looking at him but I was holding onto his arm for dear life. He stood up so quickly it almost knocked me backwards, he reached out, steading me.
"Back door." he stated simply, his voice strong, and I suddenly felt like his resolve was the only thing keeping me on my feet. I nodded woodenly and he put an arm around me guiding me out while gesturing to the other two that it was time to bounce. I told myself to look straight ahead, I made the back door my focal point, the other two rushed ahead, opening the door. Just as we stepped out, I looked behind us despite my better judgment. He was standing at the edge of the bar looking right at us, we locked eyes, his face painted with confusion and anger. The door closed on his expression and I pushed Luke away retching onto the gravel parking lot.
if you're reading this let me know what you think, writing fanfic is a no pressure way for me to put something down without expecting it to be perfect so I would love some feedback as I experiment with new writing styles.
Chapter 3: Car Sick
This is more of a filler chapter, but fun will ensue at the apartment, possibly to be updated tomorrow, I crave attention and feedback, please give it to me.
Luke, ran to my side, pulling my hair back with one hand, and rubbing my back with the other. I wanted to push him away, out of sheer embarrassment if nothing else, but he was the only thing keeping the vomit out of my hair. I threw up every ounce of liquor and then dry heaved a couple of times, before finally being able to take several deep breaths, My heart rate was finally slowing down. I heard Michael and Calum muttering and I felt like crying for more than one reason. Overwhelmed with confusion and hurt, fear and embarrassment.
"You're going to be okay. Do you want us to take you home?" Luke whispered in my ear, his voice full of concern. I shook my head, I couldn't imagine anything I wanted to do less than go home and wallow in my own self pity, all alone in apartment stained with memories and fragments of a life I didn't have any more, a future that wasn't mine anymore.
"I'm fine, I just need some water."
I muttered, standing up, Luke handed me a waded up tissue and I wiped my mouth. It tasted rancid and I didn't even want to breath in Luke's direction.
"Okay, let's get in the car, we'll grab some on the way." He rubbed small circles on my back, it was comforting and I stood there for a moment, closing my eyes and enjoying the feeling before finally giving him and the boys a weak attempt at a smile. Michael and Calum were standing next to the car giving me sympathetic looks. We walked to the car, Calum was the only one sober enough to drive, Michael sat in the passenger seat, and Luke was in the back with me. I pressed my forehead against the window, watching my breath fog the glass, recede slowly, before I would breath out again. It was quiet in the car and I was begging for some type of noise, for them to start friendly banter, or play music, anything to make me feel like I hadn't completely dragged down their night.
We wordlessly pulled into a nearby gas station and Calum and Luke both got out. Luke ran inside, Calum went to the gas pump. It was just me and Michael in the car and he looked back at me sheepishly.
"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have pressured you so hard to drink so much." He really did sound sorry, and I mustered a smile.
"Don't be sorry, it wasn't the alcohol that made me sick..." He nodded, looking somewhat relieved and turned around, letting my unfinished explanation hang in the air. I was finding that my favorite thing about Michael was he didn't push for details. He knew when to let somebody keep their pain private. It made me wonder what in his life had made him so aware to have that compassion.
"Would you do me a favor though," I started shyly, he turned around, eager to right the situation. "Will you get everyone back into a hype mood, I hate feeling like I put a damper on your night." He gave me a kind grin.
"Absolutely," He offered, "But for the record, you're not putting a damper on anyone's night, don't sweat it." With that he turned around, putting some music on the radio, and letting me go back to my private mental efforts of piecing myself and my night back together. Luke came jogging out of the gas station, stopping to mutter something to Calum, who gave a serious nod. They both got back in the car, and Luke gave me a reassuring smile as he handed me a bottle of water. I took it gratefully, quickly taking a few refreshing gulps, getting the taste of bile and liquor out of my mouth. Now that I was sobering up I was starting to question their niceness. Sure me and Luke had met before, but always among groups of friends, we'd never had our own conversations. What reason did they have to want some sad, pathetic stranger, crashing their night? I didn't want to be suspicious but that was my reality now, turns out you get hurt bad enough, suddenly all men become distrustful. I ran a hand down my face, pushing away the bitter thoughts. I was starting to sound like an old women at the end of her second marriage.
The conversation was picking up at the front of the car, Calum and Michael were engaged in a passionate conversation about which band was responsible for the song currently blaring on the radio, I couldn't have guessed if my life depended on it. I looked over at a silent Luke, he was already looking at me, his expression serious. Something in his eyes made me want to reach out, grab his hand, tell him it was all going to be alright, it wasn't even that he looked upset, it was something more than that. Something I couldn't explain but knew I was picking up on. I settled for putting on a brave face.
"I'm okay, I swear." I didn't know what else to say but he nodded, looking forward and tuning into the conversation.
"Guys, The Cars." He interjected, matter of fact.
"Ohhhh, yeah." They uttered in unison.
"Good ear man." Michael added, turning around and giving an approving gaze.
The rest of the car ride went by nicely, Luke started talking with the boys normally, I even manage to include myself a few times, although there wasn't much I knew about music but I didn't mind. I let myself slowly come back to the present, allowed myself to unwind and just passively listen to their voices. I didn't have friends like this, ones I could talk so animatedly with about whatever, there's no one in my life anymore where we enjoyed each other's company as much as these three boys did. I was almost jealous, of the ease in their relationship, it made me relax, it was nice to feel apart of something even if it was just for the night.
"Home, sweet home." Michael announced. I look around confused, the only buildings near us was an old warehouse, a tattoo shop sandwiched between a second hand store and a Mexican restaurant.
"Ummm," I looked at Luke, waiting for him to give me the news that I had been kidnapped and now they were going to murder me in an abandon alley. He smirked at me and pointed to the second floor of the tattoo shop.
"It's an apartment." He offered. I let out a breath of relief, but tried not to let it show, he shook his head at me, the smirk still in place, Michael and Calum were already walking to the stairs, Luke paused half way out the car door.
"You comin?" He looked at me, eyes wide, waiting. I looked at him, smiling easily for the first time since we got in the car.
"Yeah, I am."
If you've made it this far I thank you.
Chapter 4: Beerpong & Ballsacks
We take this game seriously
I entered what was most definitely a boys' apartment. The lighting was the first thing that stood out, different hues bounced all over the place, Multi colored disco balls, Christmas lights, not a single conventional piece of lighting. A large neon 'open' sign hung in the dining area which was conjoined with the kitchen and the living room. The living room stood on the opposite side of the apartment as the front door, it's sliding doors wide open so there was no separation from the other rooms. I could see light from a hallway spilling onto the futon. I slowly made my way through the common areas of the place, inspecting. It was a little messy, but not nearly as bad as it could have been for three boys on their own, the walls were completely covered and it was clear now that they were, in fact, huge music buffs.
The walls had band posters from musicians I had never even heard of, signed t-shirts, a whole wall plastered in set lists, along with random weird objects and souvenirs nailed into any empty spaces.
Calum started opening windows, airing out the smell of cologne, gym socks, and pizza.
"What do you think?" Michael beamed, his arms outstretched like he'd just finished the tour of his mansion.
"I like it, it has personality." I offered, and he nodded proudly. There was a lot of ruckus coming from the kitchen, I heard the pop of a beer cap, the sound of cabinets opening and closing.
"Michael are you going to help set this up?" Calum inquired, poking his head out from the half wall, the only thing creating a disconnect from the kitchen and the rest of the common area. Michael sighed and reluctantly went to assist his friend. I looked around again, this time realizing that Luke was no where to be seen.
I sat cross legged on the ground in front of the massive gaming set up they had. Not surprising. I contented myself with looking through the book shelf overflowing with games. Calum and Michael were keeping up a steady banter behind me, and I felt myself relax instinctively. It was so hard not to feel at ease around these boys. I knew that I should feel worried, or at the very least uncomfortable, but I just couldn't make myself. Their contentedness with each other and me was infectious and I felt more comfortable in their bachelor pad than I had in my own home this last month.
"see anything you like?" I looked up startled out of my mental reverie, Luke was standing above me, his eyebrow cocked curiously. He had changed out of his sweater in favor of a black tee, the sleeves were strained against his sinewy arms. You couldn't tell through the sweater but he was clearly toned for a lanky guy.
He cleared his throat and I realized I'd been staring, worse still, I'd been staring with my mouth agape. I shut it with a click, hurting my teeth.
"Umm, yeah, I'm not much into gaming. But anything that let's me design my character down to the last detail is good by me." I babbled, my cheeks were hot, and this time I couldn't blame any booze.
"Come on you two! We got blood alcohol levels to raise!" Michael instructed, I was thankful for the excuse to get out of this self sabotaging conversation. Luke held out a hand, pulling me to my feet, we made our way over to the game set up
The dining room table was the perfect size and height for beer pong, something I'm sure wasn't an accident. It was covered with a power ranger table cloth, stolen straight out of a 5 year olds birthday party.
"Alright, I'm insisting we switch partners from the bar." Calum demanded, handing me and Luke solo cups filled with a clear, fizzy, mystery liquid. Also giving Michael an opening to grab my arm and pull me to one side of the table.
"Dibs!" He claimed, sticking his tongue out at Luke, who returned it by flipping him the bird.
"Well (Y/N) I hope you enjoyed winning that game of pool, cause it's gonna be the only game you win tonight." He shrugged, unbothered. I shook my head
"Sorry to say but I don't need any lessons when it comes to beer pong, so I hope your ego can take the hit when we kick your ass." I challenged. Michael gave a hype man's "Whoop, Whoop!" in the background.
Luke's brows shot up, but he tossed me the ping pong ball as if it say, 'bring it.' I held his eyes with mine, forcing myself not to get lost in their intense blue gaze, we moved in unison, tossing the balls and sinking them both. He gave me a surprised yet impressed tilt of the head, and we stepped aside, letting our partners duke it out. Michael made it, Calum's bounced off the cups and into the ground. He took a couple gulps from his drink, giving Luke a reassuring look.
"Give me a sec to let the booze hit me, and then I'll make you proud." Luke grabbed his shoulder, in a very manly form of affection
"You always do." He assured.
Michael and I had control over the ping pong balls, each of us rubbing them around in our hands.
"Ladies first." Michael obliged, gesturing graciously towards the table, I curtsied in response before focusing on my shot. I missed, luckily Michael picked up the slack and we got to remove one cup from their side. Luke and Calum both made theirs calling balls back. I took a heavy gulp. Vodka and Sprite? I could handle it, at this point I was barely holding onto any sort of buzz, and similar to Calum, my beer pong skills rose with my intoxication level.
"(Y/N) and Luke drink for each other, And then Me and Calum?" Michael asked, okaying it with the group. I fist bumped Michael.
"We got this." I decreed, making very pointed eye contact with Luke, as I took another drink, unprompted.
The more we drank the more seriously we took the game. We were down to 4 cups while Luke and Calum were only down to 5. Although the only reason they had one more cup than us was because Calum had accidently assisted us in landing a ball, and had made a bargain with us. He begged us to keep the cup and in exchange we picked out a new name to give him for the night. Michael and I had conferred in the kitchen for a few moments before reemerging in a fit of giggles.
"After many hours of deliberation-" Michael started.
"You guys talked about it for 2 whole minutes." Luke interrupted, earning him a dirty look from Michael. He held his hands up, gesturing at Michael to continue.
"As I was saying, after much thought, Calum's new name is..." Michael looked at me expectantly.
"Ballsack!" I announced with the same excitement hosts announce 'Winner!' on game shows. Michael and I broke into another fit of giggles, as Calum's face dropped. Luke gave him a supportive pat on the back
"Tough break Ballsack." His voice dripped with sympathy.
"That's not even clever!" Calum argued.
"In our defense." I hiccupped. "We were pressed for time, and my cut off for clever nicknames ended right about...Here," I pointed a little above the half way mark on my drink, which was now 75% drank.
"Hey you made the bargain Ballsack, now you have to live with it." Michael stated simply.
"Whatever it's your guys' turn anyway." Calum/Ballsack clipped, clearly not pleased. Although with a name like Calum I didn't see how Ballsack was that much of a step down.
"Rerack?" Michael questioned, checking with me, I nodded.
"Tight pussy, boys." I indicated towards the cups. Luke gave me a mildly offended look.
"Um, I think you mean 'diamond,' what you said is just vulgar." I stepped towards him, taking an alpha stance.
"What I said is standard beer pong jargon, but if you've got something against tight pussies, that's one you." I scoffed.
"Standard in prison maybe. Also I won't dignify that cheap shot with a response. Here in the civilized world, we call it a diamond." By this point Calum had already done the rerack but the two boys were staring at us with rapt attention, like they were watching the start of a WWE match.
"Maybe in princess la la land the call that rerack a diamond, but us REAL MEN," I emphasized, "Call it a tight pussy." At this point we were in each others faces and I whispered the last words menacingly. Michael and Calum were unsuccessfully trying to stifle their laughs. Luke looked like he was struggling to say something. His mouth opened and closed, a puppet with a mute ventriloquist. Suddenly he was pulling me into him, gathering both of my wrists into one of his hands, trapping me close to his body while he dug his knuckles into my scalp, giving me a noogie, and not holding back a bit.
"Ahh!" I shouted, struggling under his grip.
"Say it's a diamond!" He bargained.
"Never!" I rebelled, there was no escaping his grasp, and seeing no other way out I sunk my teeth into his arm.
"Ow!" he yelped, letting me go, "You bit me!" I shrugged.
"A girls gotta do what a girls gotta do." I surmised. rolling my now stiff shoulder. Michael and Calum had dissolved into tears, their laughs no longer audible, their faces red and strained. Michael was weakly holding up his phone, the camera pointed in our direction. They were using the others body to support themselves, and I couldn't help but join in, in spite of myself. Before long Luke was laughing with us.
"Okay, okay, for the sake of finishing the game, can we agree to disagree." Luke compromised as everyone started catching their breath. I nodded, holding my hand out in sportsmen like gesture. He shook it and we went back to our respective sides of the table. I smoothed my hair down, trying to fix the damage the noogie had done.
"Don't worry I've got an instagram poll going on the video of you too. We'll answer this question the democratic way." Michael assured, handing me my ball.
Michael and I both made ours, calling balls back, the time we both missed, but I snagged my rolling ball off the table, miraculously making it with my left hand. Luke took another drink, his blue eyes contrasting with the red cup as he glared at me.
"Getting scared yet Luke?" I prodded, he shook his head, that cocky gin darking his features. both boys followed our lead making their shots, we rolled the balls back to them. Michael was rubbing his hands in anticipation. Calum missed, Luke took his stance, taking time to prefect his aim. The ball went straight into the water filled cup.
"Heating up!" He declared, cursed myself for not countering it sooner and reluctantly rolled the ball back to him. All he needed to do was make this shot and they had the game. He tossed the ball, it went soaring into the air. it went in, swirling around the side, I leaned down, blowing on it as hard as I could, trying to get it to come out. It popped out just as I used the last of the air in my lungs. The ball seemed suspended in air and then dropped back down with a resounding 'plop.'
The silence in the room broke as Luke and Calum grabbed for each other hooting and hollering in victory. I looked at Michael, both of us looking defeated but he held his arms out.
"Good game." I returned his hug.
"It was an honor." I declared. Luke sauntered over to me, his hands stuffed into his pockets, a smug look painted on his face. Not that I would have ever admitted it, but it looked good on him.
"Don't feel too bad, you never had a chance." He taunted, I nudged him with just a little force.
"Please, I know I had you worried for a minute, that's win enough for me." He bit his lip and looked at the ground, digging his heal against the tile, he looked at me from under her lashes and I had to look away.
"Maybe just a little." He admitted finally. I cracked a small smile, my hear was fluttering in my chest, an untamed bird in a too small cage.
"So what now?" I asked turning towards the other two boys. Calum looked at Michael.
"Never have I ever?" Calum questioned.
"Never have I ever." Michael echoed.
Hopefully this had a bit more meat to it than the last two chapters, also I fully realize we haven't made it to any smut yet, but don't worry, we'll get there. Plus it's always so much more rewarding when you have to wait for it. As always, feel free to let me know what you think, does it need more sexual tension, am I not nearly as funny as a think I am, should Calum have more dialog? Probably.
Chapter 5: Never Have I Ever Slaughtered a Teddy Bear
This may be the biggest mess, I don't think I understand how people flirt, I truly did my best, that's all I can say about this one.
"I'm down, but I need a top off. Anybody else?" Luke offered, all of us agreeing. "You wanna give me a hand (Y/N)?" Luke suggested, glancing at me.
"Um, yeah, okay sure." I faltered, not knowing how much of a help I could really be. None the less I grabbed Michael's cup, following Luke into the semi private kitchen.
Luke started grabbing booze and soda out of the fridge, and we crowded around the limited counter space. I could feel the heat coming off of his body, as I stood facing his side, watching him uncap bottles, trying not to look like I was watching him. It was hard though, his profile was straight and sure, the only soft lines on him was the curl to his shaggy blonde hair, pushed back on his head so it didn't fall in his face. It looked so soft.
"What are you drinking?" He asked, gesturing to my cup and jolting me out of my slightly obsessive thoughts.
"Um, vodka and Sprite I think, but I'm not sure how much more of it I can handle." I admitted.
"Well finish it off and I'll mix you something else." He replied, I obliged, chugging the rest of my drink as he started refilling the other three. I set the plastic down hard, a shiver going through my body as the liquid lit up my insides on the way down.
Luke was facing me now, the corners of his mouth tilted up, his eyes intense, boring into me. They way he looked at me made me feel like the heat from the liquor was pooling even further down now. My abdomen clenched, a hunger pain that couldn't be satiated by anything they had in the fridge. I felt that I might catch on fire, blazing from the inside out. He was so tall, I would have to stand on my tippy toes to make my mouth touch his. My lips parted instinctively. The crooked smile on his face was gone, the smolder from his eyes had spread to every feature on his face. his jaw was tense, his eyebrows pulled together. The tips of my fingers and toes burned, my cheeks and lips did too. I felt I could make it stop, with my fingers in his hair, if I just stood on my toes, stretched out to him, brushed my lips on his.
"What do you want?" He growled, almost pleading. The way he asked, I couldn't believe that he would have denied me of anything I asked for. Like he was put on this earth to grant this very urge its satisfaction.
"What's taking you two so long?" Michael shouted, sounding too near. I jolted, spinning myself towards the counter, almost knocking over a freshly filled drink.
"(Y/N)'s figuring out what she wants to drink."
Luke answered, sounding completely unfazed, was his pulse not racing like mine was? He was still looking at me, I bit my lip, trying to create a curtain between us with my hair. It was dark but I was sure my cheeks were so bright they could have guided a ship to shore.
I grabbed the captain and coke, mixing it strong. Luke grabbed two cups and a bottle of tequila, and lead us out of the kitchen. My head was swimming and the booze wasn't to blame.
The other two boys were seated on the living room floor, which they had covered in comforters and pillows. I handed Michael his cup, choosing the open space between him and Calum, forcing Luke to sit on the opposite side of the circle.
"You guys took so long I thought you got lost." Michael joked, I smiled at him and avoided looking at Luke.
"(Y/N), do you know the rules of never have I ever?" Calum asked, I shook my head.
"I think the last time I played was in middle school and I don't think there were rules...or booze." I added.
"Pshh lame middle school. Why don't you tell her the rules Ballsack." Michael cackled earning him an irritated look.
"Anyway, we all start with 5 fingers up." Calum held up the hand not holding his cup, showing some impressive spirit fingers, "We go around the circle, everyone says something they've never done, if someone else has done it they have to take a drink and put a finger down. If you say something you've never done and no one else in the circle has ever done it either then you have to take a SHOT." He emphasized, wiggling his eyebrows. "Last person with any fingers up is the winner." Calum finished.
"Or the most boring, however you want to see it." Michael added, making some non committal shoulder moves.
"Well, sounds simple enough." I stated. "How do we start?"
"With a shot." Luke answered, throwing the tequila bottle back and smoothly handing it to Calum.
"Whoever takes it most like a bitch, starts." Michael explained as Calum took his shot, his eye twitched and he tried to stifle a shudder. He handed me the bottle, I clenched my eyes close as I took a full gulp, accepting the burn as it slid down my throat. Michael took the bottle from me impatiently and took his shot, he stuck his stuck out and pointed at Calum.
"Ballsacks the bitch!" He declared happily. Calum put his hands up, not denying it.
"Alright, alright, never have I ever...stolen something." He grinned deviously at Michael, although we all put our fingers down, taking drinks in unison. Michael tilted his head at me.
"I didn't peg you as a thief." He almost sounded impressed.
"I wanted a box of oil pastels for my birthday and I didn't get them so I stole a set from the art room as school. I was in the third grade, my mom found out and made me return them, I had to write an apology letter to my art teacher." I elaborated, not wanting to lead him to thinking I was some sort of deviant.
"Whoa, watch out for sticky fingers over here." Michael teased, poking me in the side. I scooted away from him, avoiding his pokes. I pointed my finger at the huge lit up 'open' sign.
"I don't imagine you paid for that." Michael gave me a smug look, but simply shrugged.
"All you need to know is I earned it." He left it at that.
"Your turn girl." Calum reminded me, My eyes grazed around the room, catching on Luke, who was already focused on me. The other two boys were looking at me too, but not like that, not with eyes that yearned for something.
"Never have I ever gone to a concert." I said finally, almost as if I was out of breath. All three of them responded with disbelieving sounds as they took their drinks.
"Not even one?" Michael asked as if the news hurt his soul. I shook my head.
"We'll have to change that." Luke pledged, I held my drink up as if to cheers.
"I'll hold you to that." I vowed back.
"Never have I ever been named Ballsack!" Michael shouted suddenly.
"Oh fuck you mate." Calum chuckled, taking a drink.
Luke was at the ready, "Never have I ever been tied up in bed." Michael and I both put a finger down, I kept my eyes on the quilt beneath me, I could feel all of them looking in my direction, from the corner of my eye I saw Michael's mouth open and then close, trusting his better judgment. Calum faltered for a second.
"Uh, never have ever...driven a motorcycle." No one put their finger down and Calum reluctantly took a shot of tequila.
"Never have I ever done a body shot off of someone." Michael and Luke both unabashedly took a drink. Michael looked at me pointedly, his evil little smile that I was already becoming familiar with, told me he thought he had me.
"Never have I ever, given a body shot." Calum looked at his drink, as he put his finger down. I gave Michael a sweet smile, not moving a finger.
"Huh, well, I've learned something new about Calum." His brow was furrowed as he looked at nothing in particular. He didn't seem to know what to do with the news.
Luke laughed, starting his next one. "Umm, never have I ever, thought I was going to marry someone I was dating." He said it coolly, but it felt my drink was harsher when it went down, Calum took one with me. Calum looked at Michael, with a wide smile.
"Never have I ever streaked through a room full of people."
"Whelp, I'm out." Michael lifted his drink above his head, toasting to the room before chugging the rest of his drink.
"Do I even want to know that story?" I asked, looking curiously at the boys. Luke shook his head, smirking,
"Probably not." I accepted it, and thought hard. Luke and I had two fingers up, Calum had one.
"Never have I ever...kissed someone the same day I met them."
Calum sighed and finished his drink, admitting defeat, Luke only had his pointer finger up now, his eyes never left mine.
"Really?" Michael inquired, sounding shocked. I nodded, "But the opportunity must have presented itself, right?" He seemed personally affected by this news. I shook my head and his eyebrows shot up. "Do you believe this?" Michael conferred with Luke, pointing a finger at me like I couldn't hear them. Luke didn't say a word, his eyes looked me up and down, his face unreadable. I looked down, letting my hair fall around my face.
"I didn't party in high school. My parents were strict and I wasn't really into it anyway. Then I was working and when I wasn't working I was doing online schooling, and when I was 19 I got together with my ex...so yeah, it just never happened for me." I shrugged, I never really thought it was a big deal, but I was suddenly feeling embarrassed about it. Maybe because of Michael's shock, or maybe it had to do with the prying gaze Luke had on me.
"Huh." Was all Michael had left to say. The cool mask hadn't slipped from Luke's face and he hadn't taken his eyes off me.
"Never have I ever said 'I love you' first." I sucked in a harsh breath, feeling like his words were meant to hurt. I took my drink, not wanting to look at Luke anymore. We were both down to our last finger up.
"Why?" I questioned, looking at him just long enough to see I had caught him off guard before quickly reverting back to the expressionless default.
"Guess I just never felt it as strongly as the other person." He shrugged it off like he couldn't care less. I didn't respond, simply focused on coming up with my next never.
"Never have I ever...Been somebody's first." Luke finally looked away from me wordlessly finishing his drink.
"Yay! Luke finally lost at something!" Michael cheered, both boys giving me high fives. Luke leaned towards me, extending a hand, the corners of his mouth twitching up like he was trying not to smile.
"Nice job." He complemented. I slid my hand in his firm grip. The warmth slid all the way up my arm, radiating into my chest. I could see the veins in his arm, straining against his skin. My mouth started watering. He gave my hand two slow pumps. When I finally managed to tear my eyes away from his arm I realized he was looking at the deep slope in the neckline of my dress with eyes I felt must have mirrored mine.
"(Y/N) I'm gonna need you to finish your drink so I can fill it up." Michael demanded, his eyes darting from Luke to me and back again.
I cleared my throat, pulling my hand away from Luke's, the heat in my cheeks getting worse. Luke leaned back, on his elbows, handing Michael his empty cup. I did as I was told, tossing back the rest of the drink. Michael walked off empty cups in hand, and I leaned back, stretching out my legs, letting the liquor in me settle.
"How you feeling?" Calum asked, nudging me and giving me a warm smile.
"Good, definitely drunk, I don't think I can survive another drinking game." I answered, Calum nodded vigorously in agreement.
"Same, I'm ready to do some winding down." He murmured, his head lolling. Luke was looking at his friend with endearing grin. he turned that grin on me and my pulse faltered.
"You ever tried to play video games drunk?" He inquired, his blue eyes shining. His blonde hair disheveled. Taking on the colors bouncing around the room.
"Can't say I have." I disclosed, skeptical of the idea being fun.
"Ballsack, will you select a game from the 'best played while drunk,' shelf?" I laughed as Calum stood up, falling once and then steading himself.
"You guys have a shelf for that?" I questioned, still laughing.
"I like your laugh." He uttered, ignoring my question, his eyes held mine and then he was standing up, grabbing the drinks teetering in Michael's hand as he carefully walked into the room. I sat stunned for a moment. Not sure I had heard him correctly but knowing I couldn't have imagined that.
"Got it!" Calum stood up, proudly displaying a yellow case in his hand. Luke helped me to my feet, I moved my hand out of his as quickly as possible, almost losing my balance in the process. The sizzle when we touched was alarming. I wanted to ask him if he could feel it too but he was already taking his place with the boys on the futon. Holding my drink out for me to take. I grabbed one of the smaller blankets off the floor, dragging it with me. There wasn't much space on the futon for the four of us and I had to scrunch in next to Luke on the end of the couch. Luke handed me a controller as well as my drink. I immediately set my drink down on the end table next to me, not needing anymore for the time being.
"what am I supposed to be doing?" I murmured into his ear, our shoulders and thighs were pressed against each other, my dress had ridden up my thighs and I covered them with the blanket, but not before seeing his eyes graze over them. We were so close I could hear the hitch in his breath as the air from my words ran across his neck. I felt more aware of my body then I could ever remember being, my pulse, what parts of my body held the most heat, where my body collided with his.
"So you're a teddy bear, and you're trying to kill all the other teddy bears." He explained, keeping his voice low, mimicking my tone.
"Wow...that's gnarly." I responded. He pointed out the buttons I would be using and what they did and we all started playing. I was pleasantly surprised by how much fun it was and how easily I started picking it up. The boys made it even better, they laughed at each other, complimented each other on the particularly creative and entertaining forms of mutilation. All of them gave me props on my natural skills at teddy bear killing.
Calum ended up moving onto the floor after a while leaving Michael, Luke, and I on the futon. Even with the extra room, Luke never stopped touching me, his leg would be pressed against mine, or his elbow so close to mine they would brush against each other, saying I needed to share the blanket and having me scoot close. Sometimes that sizzle would go through me again and I would forget what I was doing, sometimes dying in the game from the distraction.
Even with all the excitement from the game, and the laughter and loudness out of the boys I felt...serene. sitting there with them felt so natural. I couldn't remember the last time I felt this comfortable with a group of friends. Boozed up or not.
I smiled to myself as the boys congratulated me for putting good use to a wood chipper. My smile fell on Luke, he was giving me another unreadable look, the only thing that showed anything were his eyes, I could see the spark in them and I had a desire to draw it out.
"Thank you." He whispered, so softly I almost couldn't hear him.
"For what?" I leaned in close, his lips almost touching my ear, his hot breath making me shiver.
"For walking into that bar."
So hopefully that was okay, I don't know, you tell me. This was such an exhausting chapter to write, absolutely painful. Next chapter may be more on the intimate side, who knows? not me.
Chapter 6: I'm in a Glass Case of Emotion
I have discovered that sexual tension is not my strong suit, go figure. Anyway here is a private little chapter, just you and Luke, back story is being slowly revealed, all that junk.
Calum dozed off on the blanket covered floor, leaving the three of us to turn off the game and talk quietly for a while longer. Eventually Michael drunkenly stumbled out of the room, muttering about needing to take a piss.
"You know we're not going to see him again right?" Luke chuckled as he watched Michael disappear into on of the rooms in the hallway. We were sitting on the couch, both of us had our feet up, the toes of our socks, overlapping.
"Does that mean you're going to be calling it quits too?" I asked, hoping to not sound upset by the idea.
"I was actually going to ask you if you would join me for a cigarette." He stood up, offering me his hand, which I took. He pulled my to my feet, making me lose my balance. He grabbed hold of my shoulders, steading me.
"Whoa, looks like we should have cut you off a while ago." He teased, grinning easily at me. We were standing so close that when I inhaled my breasts brushed against his chest, I wondered if he was as aware of it as I was.
"Oh, shut up." I retorted lamely, pushing him away. my head felt too foggy and the drink I had just finished had nothing to do with it.
We started towards the door, Luke grabbed his pack of smokes off a little table in the dining area that also held some change and a set of keys.
"Wait, I almost forgot." He ran out of the room, I lost view of him as he slipped into the hallway. He reemerged a few moments later wearing a jacket. He tossed me a wadded up ball of clothe and I shook it out, realizing he had grabbed me one of his hoodies. I thanked him and pulled it over my head. I was enveloped in the same smell from the bar; tobacco, cologne, and old books. I breathed in, trying not to make it obvious as I pushed my head through the hole. It was so long it almost matched my dress.
Luke walked over to me, his eyes, not meeting mine. He pushed the hoodie down, and pulled my hair out from under the fabric. His fingers brushed against my jaw as he fanned my hair out.
"Perfect." He uttered so quietly I almost didn't believe I'd heard him right. His eyes were on my lips, mine flickered to his. So pink, even in what little lighting reached into the kitchen. When I looked back up he was staring into my eyes. I didn't even realize I was holding my breath until he took a step back, opening the door. He gestured for me to go first and I kept my head down, hoping he couldn't see the blush on my face.
The air outside nipped at my bare legs. I stuffed my hand in the front pocket, the hoodie did a good job of keeping the rest of me protected. Luke stepped out after me, closing the door behind us.
"It's really starting to get cold." Luke said absently, pulling out two smokes from his crumpled pack. He put one of them delicately against my lips. He lifted the lighter to the end of the cig, his eyes were on mine. The cold breeze kept making the flame putter and go out. We both put a hand over the lighter, shielding it from the wind. His hand slid over mine, and i watched the steady flame burn the end of the tobacco. Luke let the light go out but didn't move right away. Even with the flame out, his eyes were warm and inviting. Glowing in the moonlight. He stood up finally, lighting his own cigarette.
"I'm excited about the cold." I finally replied, his comment seemed miles away somehow.
"You're a fan of winter?" He guessed.
"No, I love fall. The colors, the smell. I think it's the most romantic time of the year." I explained, puffing on my smoke, my gaze was on the stars but I was thinking about how close Luke was to me. He was shifting his weight from one foot to the other and every time he shifted to the right our arms would brush against each other.
"What did you see at the bar?" His words were quiet, unsure like he didn't want to ask. I looked at him then, but he was staring at the ground.
"My ex was there. It was the first time I'd seen him since...well since I walked in on him doing my roommate." I paused to take a drag and push back the burn of tears. "I mean technically he'd already broken up with me, but I think I deserved to wait longer than 3 days to find him fucking other girls in my apartment." I felt all the anger that had been building up over the month, the anger I hadn't let myself feel, boil inside me. I yelled into the night, letting it out in one short burst. Unable to contain it anymore, I had spent this last month not letting myself feel and I suddenly couldn't stand it anymore. When I was done we stood in silence for a moment.
"What an asshole." Luke finally stated, conviction in his voice. He looked at me with an expression so soft I felt everything suddenly melt away. I smiled and then let my laughter drift into the night air. I couldn't explain why, but it felt so good to laugh, like I needed it just as badly as I had needed to scream. Luke didn't look at me like i was crazy, didn't make me feel judged. I felt safe out there with him, even more importantly I felt free.
"Yeah, what an asshole." I repeated.
"I hope this is okay to say, but i really can't imagine doing what he did...leaving you for something as shallow as sex." He had stopped swaying, his arm was pressed against mine. His gaze on mine.
"It wasn't all his fault. I wasn't me by the end of it. Hadn't been for a while." I looked away then, letting my mind move my mouth, not censoring any of it. "You make all the compromises you're supposed to in a relationship, but it got to the point where he wasn't and so I made more compromises. I started putting away pieces of me, if a dream didn't align with his, i stopped letting myself reach for it, if a part of my personality clashed with his, I stopped letting it through. Then slowly, but somehow all of a sudden I realized I wasn't the same person as I was in the start, only I realized it after he did. Then it was too late." I was rambling and I knew it but I couldn't make myself stop, and Luke was looking at me with such intent it gave me the courage to keep going. "I felt like I had really made myself into the best version of me for our relationship. Losing bits of myself in order to fit into our plans, which if I'm being honest was heavily weighed towards his plans. That's not his fault, that's mine."
It felt so good to let it all go, the guilt, not for him, but for myself. I felt guilty for sacrificing so much of myself
"He just had the guts to do something I no longer let myself admit I even wanted." I stopped myself then. "Still, a real dick way to go about it though." I added, making Luke laugh and lifting the heaviness off the conversation. I laughed with him, and for the first time since the break up, I truly felt like I was going to be alright. That eventually I would be okay, and all this heartbreak would get further and further away from my reality, until eventually it would feel like someone else's life, someone else's pain. So far away I wouldn't even remember how it felt. The thought was bittersweet.
I put out my cigarette, tossing it in the empty planter filled with them.
"Sorry if that was a lot." I said, his warm smile made me forget the harsh night air.
"Don't be," His voice was gentle but his words held weight. "I'm not asking you to hold any part of yourself back." I bit my lip, the words sending a flood of emotions over me, I felt off balance like I could tip over with a stiff wind. He held his hand out to me as he flicked his filter. I took it slipping my fingers through his, the warmth from his hand spreading over me.
We walked into the house quietly, stepping passed Calum's still sleeping body. He led me through the hallway, not talking, not letting go of my hand. One of the doors was closed, no light showing through the crack. Luke stopped in front of a door, slightly ajar. He turned to look at me.
"I can grab you something to sleep in if you want." We agreed that I should just stay hear earlier in the night. It was too late, I was too drunk, and Michael offered to make Calum make breakfast so I was hooked in by then. Now though, I was realizing we hadn't set any plan for where we'd be sleeping. I nodded, and went to the bathroom at the end of the hall, relieved to have time to self reflect on the night. I put my hair up, looking at myself in the mirror. I looked like a mess, and I was suddenly thankful for the forgiving lighting in the living room. I washed my face with what I could find, and used some of the mouth wash to rinse out my boozy mouth, wishing I had a toothbrush. There was a knock on the door, I cracked it, peeking at a ready for bed Luke. He had striped the jeans off and was wearing a purple pair of boxers, thankfully he was still wearing his t-shirt. I didn't think my heart would have been able to take it if he'd been standing there shirtless. He handed me some clothes and I tried to pretend I hadn't been staring.
"Thanks." I grabbed for them, closing the door in his face. I stripped out of the outfit I had gone out in. I kept my underwear on and debated on if i should attempt to sleep in the bra, eventually deciding to unhook it. I slipped on the boxers, and baggy t-shirt he had handed me. I didn't look great but I felt comfortable.
I stuck my head out the door, my folded clothes pressed to my chest. I walked out, another bedroom door was closed, I didn't think it was Luke's bedroom but then again I wasn't sure and the idea that he'd gone to bed without saying anything upset me more than I cared to admit.
When I stepped into the living room I realized Calum was no longer on the ground. Noise coming from the kitchen prompted me to pad my way over.
Luke was standing in front of the refrigerator, the small light from the bulb inside outlining his profile. Never in my life would I have thought that the light from a fridge could take my breath away, but Luke was standing, unaware that I was observing. He had shed his shirt while I'd gotten dressed and the light washing over him softly defined his muscles. his shoulders were thicker than I had realized, and I could see the firm muscles in his back from the shadows.
I bit my lip, drinking him in. I lost the grip on my clothes, dropping them on the ground. My bra rolled off the pile, falling onto the floor.
"Shoot." I hissed, dropping to my knees to pick everything up as quickly as possible. When I stood up Luke had partially closed the door, taking the light off of him. Was he embarrassed or did he know I was being creepy and that's why he didn't want me to see him as well? He was giving me a half cocked grim, somewhere between amused and something else, I couldn't place.
"Calum went to bed?" I finally asked, hoping it would detract from the train wreck I was currently creating. I tried to stuff my bra back in its hiding space between my clothes and my chest.
"Yeah, I'll sleep on the couch, you can take my bed." He went back to searching the fridge for a late night snack, and this time I made an effort to not look at him.
"No, I can't do that. I'm fine with sleeping on the couch." I objected, Luke was already waving me off before I finished talking.
"Nobody likes waking up on a couch in a house they don't know. You're taking my bed tonight." He insisted coolly. I begrudgingly accepted his offer. He sighed in defeat, grabbing two bottles of water out and closing the fridge door. He handed me one of the bottles and I followed as he walked over to his makeshift bed.
I stood awkwardly, watching but trying not to stare as he pilled pillows and blankets onto the futon. I was unsure of how i was supposed to end the night, and even more unsure of how I wanted the night to end.
"I had a really good time tonight." I said lamely. Luke turned around and smiled at me.
"I did too, and so did they." He nodded his chin towards the hallway where the other two boys were passed out cold. I smiled, looking at the ground, not sure what else there was to say.
"Well...I guess I'm gonna go try and sleep the liquor off." I drew out, not knowing what i was waiting for. Luke was rubbing the back of his neck, shifting his weight from foot to foot.
"Yeah, goodnight then." He uttered finally, I nodded, pursing my lips for a second.
"Goodnight." the finality in the word settled a rock of disappointment in the lower pit of my stomach and I walked back into the hallway, feeling like I'd been cheated out of something.
I closed the door to Luke's bedroom, flipping on the light. It was clean, with a sense of chaotic order to it. He had guitars hanging on the opposite wall. I walked over, running my hand over one of the acoustic strings. I bit my lip thinking of Luke's hands. The hands I had tried so hard not to fixate on all night. If they could work something so intricate, then what else were those hands capable of? A knock on the door made me pull my hand away, I clasped it behind my back like a kid caught elbow deep in the cookie jar.
"Um, yes? Come in?" I faltered, unsure how to invite someone into a room that wasn't mine. Luke walked in, unsure, i was struck by the kindness in the small gesture of knocking on his own bedroom door. He leaned back on it, looking around the room, anywhere but me.
"Is everything okay?" I asked, hoping I could figure out the reason behind his furrowed brow, I wanted to smooth it down. He started nodding his head slowly before his words contradicted his movement.
"Um, no." He stopped nodding, and stood straight up. I felt my breath come out in short little pants, I didn't know what he was thinking but I needed to find out.
"I can't go to bed tonight knowing that I chickened out." He added slowly. My mouth parted, ready to ask what he meant but before I could he was taking the short stride over to me. he pulled me into him, my hand balled against his bare chest. It was hot, i could feel his heart beat on my palm. He bent his head low, connecting his lips to mine. The kiss was so steady, so gentle, my lips moved effortlessly along with his as he pulled me in even tighter. I felt the muscles in his arms bunch around me. My head started to spin wildly and I was thankful he was holding me up. The world absolutely melted away, I couldn't recall where we were, who we were, I didn't care, I could have stayed like that forever. Then as suddenly as he'd started it, he ended it. He pulled away, holding me at arms length. We were both breathing heavily, my head was swimming. He looked as surprised by his actions as I felt.
"Goodnight." He finally uttered, walking back out of the room without another word, leaving me standing alone with a whirlwind of emotions and desires. I sat down hard on the bed. I brushed the tips of my fingers over my still tingling lips, feeling a shiver run through me. I fell back on the bed, replayed the moment over and over, waiting for my heart beat to slow, not knowing what to make of it but wanting it to happen again.
omg they kissed, holy crap, it happened. How was it? any pointers, critiques, you can literally just leave hate in the comments, really, any attention will do.
Chapter 7: Bloody Mary's and Pancakes
The next morning after you kiss Luke everything seems a little off.
I woke up with my head pounding, evidence that last night really happened. I opened my eyes, taking in the room with slow wits. I had forgotten that i'd slept in Luke's room last night. The sunlight was streaming in through the cracks in the curtain. I curled myself into a ball, pulling Luke's comforter around me and inhaling contently. There was something so comforting about good man smell.
There was a quiet knock on the door and it broke my sleepy haze. I sat up suddenly, remembering the way my night had ended. Was Luke at the door? I Could only imagine how bad i looked, having just woken up. I wiped the sleep from my eyes and smoothed my hair down as much as humanly possible, i could only hope that my morning breath wouldn't reach him.
"Come in!" I called, situating the blanket so that i was covered. Michael stuck his head in the room, smiling groggily, his bright hair stuck up around his head, I breathed out a sigh of relief, minding my appearance much less. He walked in with a steaming mug in his hand.
"Luke said you might need this." He handed me a cup of tea and two Advil, i gave him a grateful look, my heart fluttering at the mention of Luke. Why hadn't he just come in himself then? "I've also got Calum working on breakfast, as promised." He stated proudly, and i grinned at him.
"You're my hero right now." He shot a couple of finger guns my way that made me giggle.
"Come on out when you're ready." I nodded, throwing the Advil back with a sip of tea. It was sweet like honey, with a little bit of lemon, it coated my throat and warmed me up, i took another sip. Michael started to walk out of the room and then seemed to stop like he'd remembered something.
"Oh! i was gonna make hangover curing bloody marys, do you want one?" I thought about the offer for a moment, considering how i felt about morning booze before shrugging.
"Yeah, that actually sounds good." Michael gave me a thumbs up and then headed out the door, leaving me alone to my headache. I stood up and stretched, thinking about how this morning might go. Luke had sent Michael instead of coming to see me himself. He had kissed me last night, just to walk out, almost wordlessly, leaving me needy and more than a little confused. Would it be weird this morning? I knew i would be weird, but only because i'd be worried about him being weird. I dropped my face in my hands. Trying to cut off the awful string of anxious mental monologue. The only way i would know if he was being weird is if i went out there, but first bathroom.
I walked out of their bathroom, still in Luke's T-shirt and boxers but now i was wearing a bra. My hair was semi tamed, my face and teeth were as clean as i could get them, and my armpits smelled like old spice. All in all i was looking about as decent as i could. I took a deep breath and stepped into the living room. Michael was sitting on the futon, which no longer looked like a makeshift bed.
"Breakfast is almost done, your bloody mary is on the counter." He said, his attention quickly returning to sitcom rerun. The air smelled like hot delicious bacon, i let the scent of it carry my tired limbs to the kitchen. I stopped short. Calum was at the stove as to be expected, but Luke was leaning against the counter, thankfully wearing a t-shirt, i wouldn't have been able to function if i'd walked in to find him shirtless, he was drinking a bloody mary, his expression unreadable, his eyes on anything but me.
I noticed that Calum clamped his mouth shut the second i stepped into view. He gave me a guilty smile. I forced myself not to groan, they had obviously been talking about me.
"Good morning." I mustered up a neutral tone as i reached passed Luke to grab a bloody mary.
"Any special request for your pancake?" Calum flipped a pancake expertly in the air and i stopped to examine his, actually impressive, breakfast selection. Along with bacon and pancakes he was also making some loaded scrambled eggs. He had ingredients stacked all over the counter and i pointed at a carton.
"One blueberry pancake please." I requested.
"Coming right up, everything's almost done so, Luke, if you wanna scoot your ass out of my kitchen that'd be great." Calum sounded cheery but i caught the pointed look he gave Luke. I made my way from behind the half wall that separated the kitchen from the rest of the living space. I knew Luke was following behind me and it made my body feel hot. I needed to know what he was thinking, what had him and Calum been talking about before i walked in?
I took a seat from the dining area and turned to face the TV, i pulled a leg up on the chair and watched Luke sit down next to Michael. So far Luke hadn't said a word to me, not even to return my 'good morning' earlier, and i was starting to feel odd in my skin.
"How much later did you two stay up after i went to bed?" Michael questioned randomly, turning to look at as, unaware that i stiffened at his question, looking to Luke to see what he would say.
"Maybe about a half an hour." Luke shrugged his shoulders and left it at that. I tried not to let his nonchalance and complete ignoring of me feel like a personal jab but i wasn't doing a successful job of it, and my mood for the morning was quickly tanking. I sipped my drink, unhappily. At this point i was starting to feel like i was overstaying my welcome. I mean Luke could have thought that i was an awful kisser so he had left the room without saying anything because he follows the true and tried rule, don't say anything if you can't say anything nice, and now Calum knew and he probably thought that the fact i was still here was kind of weird and desperate and i couldn't blame him.
I put my drink down, silently i stood up and walked passed the two boys, making my way back to Luke's bedroom where my clothes from last night still sat folded, i put everything back on, pushing back tears as a slipped out of Luke's clothes. I walked back out, and plastered a fake smile on my face. Michael and Luke both looked at me, Calum was walking into the dining area, steaming plates in hand.
"I had a really great time last night, thanks for everything but i think i'm just gonna walk back to my car, the bar isn't too far from here." I nodded and gave a dorkish wave as i put my eyes to the ground, but not before catching a glimpse of their faces, ranging from confused (Michael) to visibly upset (Luke). I quickly made my way towards the door, forcing the lead bricks that had replaced my feet to drag themselves forward. Michael called out my name but my hand was already turning the knob and the sickening feeling that had started doing slow turns in my stomach wouldn't let me pause or respond. The door was closing behind me when i caught Calum's words.
"That's on you, Luke." I felt my stomach do a nauseating flop. Was he blaming Luke for bringing me back to the house last night? No, that had been mutual hadn't it, they'd all wanted me there right? I felt ridiculously stupid, not just for staying too long this morning, but for enjoying myself so much last night. They were three attractive guys, they probably brought new girls over to party every weekend. Here i was, really letting myself believe that we were all becoming the best of friends. Jeez, i felt pathetic. I pulled my jacket tighter around me, it wasn't keeping me nearly as warm as Luke's hoodie had.
"(Y/N)!" I stopped, my heart beating hard, but didn't turn around as Luke shut the door behind him and jogged towards me, "Where are you going? Why are you running out on us?" He was standing to the side of me, but i still didn't look on him.
"I don't need to butt in on you and your friends' lives." I said in a flat tone. Trying not to let the hurt show through. He stood in front of me then, forcing me to look at him. He looked serious, the way he had last night while we were smoking a cigarette.
"You're not butting in, I-we want you there. Please, if this is about last night, I'm sorry." I almost couldn't hear him with the sound of my heart and the wind rushing in my ears.
"You're sorry for last night?" I asked, i kept my eyes on his, wanting to see everything that his face would reveal. He shook his head.
"I'm sorry for not having anything better to say, nothing felt good enough after..." He let the rest of the scene play out silently between us. "And i was honestly so embarrassed this morning, i just, kinda, choked up." He was looking at the ground now, rubbing the back of his neck while a crooked grin forced the side of his mouth up. He looked positively gorgeous.
"Oh." Was all i could think to say, everything about this morning shifted in my mind and i realized how badly i had over reacted, my cheeks flushed.
"Please come inside and eat pancakes with me and my friends." He held his hand out to me like he had last night, his eyes on mine. i slid my hand through his, the spark between our eyes seemed to catch in our hands and i could feel the zing run down my entire body. I let him lead me back into the house, he detached his hand from mine as we walked towards the boys, who were both now smiling at me. I couldn't stop myself from smiling in return.
"Yay! you brought her back!"
sorry it's taken me so long to update, hope this short chapter is enough to suffice until i make it around to chapter 8. As always, feel free to leave your feedback
Chapter 8: Decorate and Desecrate
Set the stage for another weekend you couldn't have planned for...
The incessant vibrating on my right butt cheek is what finally dragged me out of my dead sleep. I fumbled, snapping my hand open and close relying on luck to guide the phone to my hand without having to use too much precious energy moving my body. I finally snagged the still agitated cellphone, answering without checking the ID.
"Mmmhello?" I mumbled, my voice thick with sleep, my eyes still not open.
"Are you sleeping?!" Michael's loud annoyed voice blared from the phone, shattering whatever calm remnants were left from the sleep. I cringed and pulled the phone from my ear. I squinted into the my shadowy room, trying to guess the time, unfortunately my blackout curtains weren't giving me any hints.
"(Y/N), it's one in the afternoon, and you promised you would help!" His voice rose with indignation as he spoke. I was more focused on the one in the afternoon part. I hadn't meant to sleep in so late, at the same time this had been an exhausting kind of week. I hadn't seen any of the boys since breakfast last weekend, that didn't stop them from keeping me busy. I moved past the time and something else Michael said suddenly struck me.
"Wait, Mikey? What am I helping you with?" A string of cussing followed my question on the other end of the line. The next time he spoke his voice was muffled and distance like he had let the phone drop.
"You deal with her, I just can't right now." There was a moment of static and rustling, as I wiped the sleep from my eyes.
"Hey there sleepy head!" Calm's calm chipper voice replaced Michael's frustration and the corners of my mouth twitched up.
"Calum will you please explain in a calmer tone what's going on." I pleaded.
"Don't you remember, i texted you about the Halloween party on Tuesday, you said you'd help us get set up." He answered, unbothered. I giggled sheepishly,
"Sorry, I guess I forgot." I vaguely remembered him talking about a party in the middle of a passionate conversation about design vs taste on baking shows, he'd asked if i'd like to help him and Michael with Halloween decorations but it hadn't occurred to me that it was for a party.
"Well now you remember, so hurry up and get over here. I have no one else to help me corral Mikey." There was a 'pop' in my ear and loud complaining from the other end of the phone, again sounding distant. I smiled to myself, listening to them fight like brothers. Michael's voice came back loud and clear.
"Calum might not be alive when you get here!' Michael gaffed, his voice strained above the struggle on the other end.
"Hurry!" Calum piped up, low, but urgent in the background. The line cut off then and I laughed into the dark silence of my room.
I yawned, pulling myself into a sitting position on the edge of my bed. I stretched my limbs, savoring the pops and creeks that left my blood flowing. Out of habit I checked the notifications on my phone before bothering to get out of bed. The smile on my face spread without permission as I eagerly opened Luke's message.
Luke: 'Good morning :)'
I typed out a response and hopped out of bed.
You: 'Good morning! (It's still morning if i just woke up right)?'
It was somehow less painful getting out of bed after seeing Luke's message, starting my day didn't seem to be such a chore. I strode to the bathroom, starting the hot water before stripping out of my pj's.
I hadn't seen Luke in a week, and neither one of us had spoken about the kiss since he'd asked me to come back inside for breakfast. Not that that stopped me from thinking about it, every day. Even just thinking about it right now was making my heart race. If Luke ever thought about it, I couldn't tell, still I didn't think there was any denying the fact that the way we talked was a lot different then the way me and the other two boys had been talking this week. My phone dinged and I lunged for it. I cradled it in my hand, staring at the notification for three minutes before giving myself permission to respond. I didn't want to seem to eager.
Luke: 'Yes it's your sleep schedule and not the earths rotation that controls time of day lol. what you up to?'
I chewed on my bottom lip, texting Luke while naked left me with an odd feeling, one that made me feel good and bad and embarrassed, so to avoid thinking about it I moved my fingers fast enough to blur as I typed.
You: 'hanging out with YOUR friends while you take the day off :P'
I lunged towards the sink counter, setting my phone down too fast for it to try and bite. Texting Luke had my blood rushing and gave me an inexplicable giddy feeling. The impatient yearning that I'd been denying all week reared it's lustful head. It was now demanding to be felt, Luke was only a few hours from my grasp and I couldn't contain the desire to see him again. It was all consuming and there was no ignoring the burst of happiness that energized me as Luke made my phone 'ding' again.
'funny how they're only MY friends when they're acting up. gtg back to work, I'll be seeing you tonight x'
I liked the way he ended it, like a promise, not just 'oh i'll see you around.' but 'I'll find you tonight.' it made me light headed. I set the phone face down on the sink and practically floated into the shower.
I let the warm water rinse away the last of my grogginess. Luke was different. I knew he was. Calum and I had good talks about pop culture stuff, things we both knew, we had lighthearted debates about celebrities and cooking shows. Michael and I didn't even really talk so much as banter via gifs. Sometimes we would send each other homemade memes on snapchat, he most certainly made me laugh a lot. Luke and I weren't the same.
I woke up and went to bed with messages from him. He would send me snaps on my work breaks. Every night this week, he had stepped outside to smoke a cigarette while I cooked dinner, he would call and we would talk, and every night he'd lit a second and even third smoke, just to stay on the phone a little longer.
His smooth steady voice would have me biting my lip, mostly he would just let me listen. He would tell me about his day, whatever antics the boys had been up to, the things that inspired his music. Yesterday he'd bought himself a poetry book from a second hand bookstore, he had brought it outside with him when he called me last night.
* * * "I was hoping it would help me with my song writing, ya know, inspire me to be more eloquent with my writing." He feigned an old timey transatlantic accent and I giggled, I could hear the slight shyness that he had under his words, the same undertone he'd had this whole week whenever he talked about music. That's how I knew he was truly passionate about it, I could see that it scared him, the love he had for doing this one thing.
"That's a really good idea, all the best musicians pull inspiration from other forms of expression. Has anything inspired you yet?" He chuckled low in my ear and I closed my eyes, picturing him taking a drag, shifting from one foot to the other, his shaggy disheveled hair, catching the street lamps and giving him the illusion of a halo. I held onto the picture as he began talking.
"There are a few so far that I like." He answered in his simple confident way.
"Will you read them to me?" I begged in a hush tone, afraid he could hear how much the idea pulled me in, I was sure he could see right through me and knew all the reasons I'd asked. I bit my lip, waiting.
* * * I replayed the phone call, letting the memory of Luke's voice wash over me along with the warm water. Both were making me feel hot. I had let dinner get a little overcooked as I quivered at his rhyme and rhythm, thankful he couldn't see the way my cheeks flushed, the way my thighs clenched, the absent minded way my hand would caress its way from my neck to my chest to my waist, my finger tips trailing lightly as his words left his mouth making it feel like a heavy pet. I mimicked the motion from last night against my bare, wet skin.
* * * "There be none of Beauty's daughters,
with magic like Thee;"
His voice was different now, deeper, darker, rougher around the edges of the words like they snagged on his teeth coming out, yet melodic all the same. It gave me a deep craving to hear him sing, among other things.
"And like music on the waters
Is thy sweet voice to me:"
Luke was doing with just his words what most men couldn't do with an instruction manual, he was making every nerve stand on end, waiting for his command, my stomach clenched and pulled in time with his meter. He was getting my hot.
"To listen and adore thee;
With a full but soft emotion,
Like the swell of Summer's ocean."
* * * I shivered under the hot water as I closed my eyes and retraced the poem in my mind, my tongue moving to his words, making the memory more vibrant as I felt what he felt when he had recited the poem, I knew the way his mouth had moved. I turned the water to cold, rinsing the conditioner out of my hair, and all (okay maybe not ALL) the dirty thoughts from my mind.
I toweled myself off and stepped out of the shower, I leaned over to twist my hair up in a towel just as my phone clattered and shook on the counter. I grabbed for it, immediately answering, assuming Michael was calling back to rush me.
"Michael, I just got out of the shower, let me get dressed and I'll be right over!" I uttered quickly, not waiting for whatever version of 'hello' he felt like yelling at me.
"Who's Michael? That's a name I haven't heard before." My pleasant morning shattered to pieces just as quickly as the first syllable fell from his lips. Recognition struck through me, as his rough, husky voice spoke even words that hit my ear with jagged edges. I should have stayed in the shower for five more minutes, daydreamed about Luke and let the call go to voicemail. I wanted to be back under the warm water, not be in this moment shivering under his cool tone. I swallowed around the lump in my throat.
"Why are you calling?" I choked out, hating how frail I sounded.
"I've been thinking about calling you since this weekend. This was the first time I could work up the courage to dial the numbers." A twisted mirror version of Luke's confidence to mask his self doubt. The voice on the phone put a humble tone over the sureness he felt that I'd be impressed by his vulnerability. "I want to see you (Y/N), have dinner with me tonight, let's talk." My eyes burned, I didn't let myself feel it then, but he had kicked the crippled pieces and I knew that it would hurt, but not right now, now I focused on his words, that weren't phrased like a question. He wasn't letting me say yes or no. I latched onto that, let it fuel the part of me that had come alive since that night I'd screamed at the sky standing next to Luke.
"It's a Saturday. On Halloween weekend. I have plans." My teeth bared, I strained to get the sentence out.
"With Michael?" He said the name in a tone so familiar to me that I couldn't help but roll my eyes off instinct. Like he was trying to spit the name into a napkin and hide it under the table before anyone could notice. "Is that the guy I saw you leave the bar with?" The bile in my throat was so thick i was afraid I'd choke one it. I was thankful though, it stuck the malice words to my throat. "Never mind, it's none of my business." He sounded midway between frustrated and remorseful, his usual 'I'm sorry' voice. I could see him in perfect likeness, sitting with his fist in his hair, looking at the ground. Anyone else would assume this is a defeated position, I know better, he wasn't defeated he was livid. Things weren't going his way.
"No, it's not." I spat out, I was met with silence, the sound of his breathing, slightly uneven.
"Tomorrow then." Final. His tone was stern. I wanted to throw my phone.
"I imagine I'll be busy for the rest of the weekend. I'm already late, goodbye." I ended the call without waiting for him to respond, my voice cracking only slightly. The anger holding me upright gave way and I sank to the bathroom tile. The tears started, no hesitation, before I had even given myself permission to breakdown. I pulled my knees to my chest and let go of everything that phone call had stirred up.
30 minutes later I'm in my car, driving to the apartment, blasting the playlist I'd compiled from the multitude of music recommendations the boys had given to me this week, mostly I was trying to forget this mornings phone call. I pulled up and rushed out of the car, the car door shut on my coat, I jiggled the handle and sighed. I tapped my foot and stuck my hand in my bag, searching for the keys by touch. Today was clearly not shaping up to be my day. I managed to unlock my coat and tried the whole rushing thing again. I took the steps two at a time, and knocked, my hand had barely left the door and Calum was already out and moving. He grabbed my coat sleeve and dragged me behind him, I was too busy trying to not to trip to object. Calum started blasting the heat while I hopped into the passenger seat. Michael was out a minute later, he squinted at me in his seat, flipped me the bird, then slid in the back without another complaint.
"So it's a party party?" I inquired as Calum pulled out of the alley, no need for 'heys' and 'hellos.' I was happy to hang with Calum and Michael, especially since I knew Luke wouldn't be home from work until 7:30.
"How old are you?" Michael asked, his face scrunching up like I smelled bad. "It's a bash (Y/N), everyone who comes has a great time, they talk about it till the next Halloween party, so yeah, it's kind of a big deal." Michael huffed, crossing his arms and leaning back in the backseat. Calum and I shared a side eye look, both of us pursing our lips to keep from laughing. "It's also Calum's first one since he moved in." He added, a little less bothered. I looked at Calum, the idea that the three of them hadn't been birthed into existence inside this apartment at the age 18, hadn't really occurred to me. "When did you move in?" I asked, wondering where I fit into their timeline.
"About five, six, months ago. I'd been living with my ex a few hours away." He answered nonchalantly. I nodded, mulling things over in my head. "Yeah Calum's always tried to leave the group, he transferred in and out of our school two different times. He always came back though, because we were the only people he could make friends with." Michael teased, pinching Calum's cheeks, who tried to hit Michael, until he swerved and then settled for a dirty look.
"I had friends at other schools, my parents were divorced and I split my time between the two." Calum stated matter of a fact. I decided to let the conversation go, it seemed we were getting into 'long time teasing' territory and I just couldn't handle that right now.
"So Mikey, what exactly am I helping you with." I prompted, it did the trick and Michael immediately launched into a long winded explanation of where we were going what we would buy, and who would be in charge of what. I was sure that when Calum pulled into the parking lot it was the first time I'd seen Michael take a breath.
I stared in awe as we strolled into the giant grey square building. The inside of the concrete box made my jaw drop. The best way to describe it was was sam's club for party supplies. It was overwhelming.
"Okay, here we're grabbing some; fog machines, party lights, preferably green and orange, solo cups, and booze-"
"They sell booze here?" I exclaimed, interrupting Michael's verbal list. Michael rolled his eyes and crossed his arms at me.
"Yes, they do, in bulk." He walked away from us, returning a few seconds later with a huge flat cart, like the ones they use when they're restocking shelves. He gave Calum a purposeful look, "Where was I?" I noticed for the first time that Calum was actually taking notes on his phone.
"Solo cups and booze in bulk." I could picture Calum pushing up thick lens glasses as he spoke, he sounded so much like Michael's little secretary, it made me giggle. These two were so cute together.
Michael rested his elbow in his other hand and then tapped his chin, looking into space with a focused determination. I could see him sifting through a mental list. "Party pizza, ice...and I think that's it for this store." Michael nodded, looking pleased with himself. He started charting our course through the store, not a small feat I might add. I stuck close to the Volkswagen sized cart, sure that getting lost here would mean being forever trapped, surviving only off the free samples they had in the food court.
"Oh! what about these, all over the hallway?" Michael picked up and hugged a box of a dozen fake spider webs, he was so enthusiastic that a small Latino family with a cart full of in bulk quinceanera decorations reversed out of the aisle. Michael nuzzled his face against the cardboard, unaware of the receding family.
"You should get some fake spiders, put 'em all up in the webs." I suggested. Michael beamed at me and wagged a finger at Calum.
"I told you she'd be helpful." He chided, making Calum chuckled. He grabbed Michael's finger, pushing it towards the ground and tousling Michael's hair
"I never disagreed with you. Come on, we got fake spiders to find." I hopped on the cart and let the boys push me around. We worked through the rest of the store, grabbing everything on the list and then some. By the time we checked out, almost two hours had gone by and it had felt like nothing at all. It hadn't hit me until then just how sluggish the rest of the week had moved compared to the time I spent with these boys. It seemed so easy and thoughtless, like breathing. It left a feathery sort of melancholy fluttering around in my chest. After us three and what I can only describe as a kid that smelled of nervous new hire (which the boys only toyed with a little) loaded everything into the surprisingly spacious trunk, we were on our way home. Michael gave us another detailed run down on what we would need to do and get while he stayed at home and got started on decorating.
"Are you sure you don't want me to stay and help you decorate?" I huffed, trying to catch my breath after carrying the last box into the apartment. Michael shook his head with rapid speed as he pulled decorations out of boxes the way an assassin pulls guns out of a black duffel bag.
"You'd only slow me down." Without another word he walked, arms full into the hallway and out of my few. I chuckled, shaking my head and catching Calum's eye. He was looking at me intently, but switched to a bright beaming smile when he realized I'd looked over, it was a quick almost unnoticeable change, but I caught it none the less.
"You ready to go?" He asked, chipper as ever, and I pushed away the odd feeling the look had given me. I nodded and followed him back to the car.
"So what's on the shopping list for this store?" I asked as we pulled out, Calum unlocked his phone and handed it to me.
"It's in my notes." I pulled it up and started reading.
"Trash bags, soda, glow in the dark jack-o-lanterns, air freshener, another beer pong table, and lastly...ping pong balls that resemble human eyeballs. Seems like a standard shopping list to me." I finished, making Calum chuckle.
"Should be easy enough." Calum assured.
"When's the party supposed to be starting?"" I asked, now actually coming to the realization that tonight was happening, an anxious sweat immediately broke out under my arms.
"It'll probably really start just before ten and then I imagine it won't be over until the next morning." Calum flashed me a lopsided grin, likely recalling the same thing I was, even Calum who'd been the first one to pass out last weekend didn't go to bed until after 4am. Luke and I had almost made it to sunrise. I tried not to let that part of the memory find it's way to my cheeks, the red would be a dead give away that my mind was somewhere else.
"Michael mentioned that you two were still awake when he finally passed out that night." The comment caught me off guard, especially the way he said it. He sounded just fine, but the way he left the sentence hanging, like he'd asked a question and he expected me to know the answer.
"Yeah, he said he had to pee, and we never saw him again." I joked, trying to shake off the uncomfortable feeling that had come over me at the turn of the conversation.
"So who would you say was out next. Did you or Luke stay up the longest?" His words were innocent enough, almost like he didn't care, still I could hear it. There was another conversation taking place on Calum's end.
"I guess we went to bed around the same time. I'm not sure, we were in different rooms." I tried not to sound defensive, the attempt left me sounding like I was answering an open ended question on a history exam I hadn't studied for. Calum pursed his lips, nodding small, thoughtful, nods. He smiled at me suddenly as if the whole conversation was nothing more than casual small talk.
"What was your favorite part about last weekend?" I searched his words, his face, his body language, trying to find something that might explain what he was doing. The only thing I could find was the depth of his question, I could feel that this question was important, that it meant something to him. That was enough for me to take a deep breath and think of the night, how I felt through out, where I was happiest.
"Honestly, when we were all playing video games together." I didn't look at him as I continued but I could feel his attention split between me and the road. "It felt how I always thought it felt to be with friends. When you see a group on TV and everyone has their place. I never had that kind of friendship but that's how I always imagined it felt." I kept my voice hushed, it felt like exactly the opposite of what you're supposed to do when making new friends, admitting what a desperate lonely loser you've always been. Still I had meant it.
There was a stretch of silence, when Calum spoke again he sounded at ease, happy. Whatever he'd been searching for had apparently been found and I relaxed with that in mind. "So what's your costume for tonight?"
"What? Oh shit!"
sorry it took me so long to update there was a lot of stuff I needed to set up in this chapter and it was painful
The apartment was decorated, the costumes were being put on, it was nearly 7pm, and the semi festive music blaring in the living room was making the bathroom mirror shake. I finished the last wing on my eyeliner despite my vibrating reflection and stepped back to give myself a once over in the floor length mirror leaning next to the sink.
Calum and I had done our best with finding a costume that wasn't tacky, cheap, and that wouldn't end with me flashing somebody.
I fluffed up my hair and secured the bobby pins that held my crown of braids in place. The thin white bed sheet had been fashioned into a Chiron, aka the proper name for what I would have just called a toga. The modest length of the sheet was made up for in the sheer amount of chest and back the sheet allowed to shine in the light. The gold highlight on my cheeks caught the light with the same glint as the flashy costume jewelry we had bought.
I watched the toga lift and deflate as I did a few small spins, looking over my handy work. I smoothed the sheet out, feeling good, not necessarily Greek Goddess good, but definitely like a casual Greek priestess or something.
Satisfied, I stepped out of the bathroom, and nearly collided into an impatient looking Michael. He tapped his snakeskin cowboy boot frantically, his hands sitting hard on his hips. I pursed my lips, holding my hands up in surrender, I did a quick swivel to the side, letting him pass in the most nonthreatening way I could manage. He started to strut past me, his red leather pants squeaking with every step. I spit out a laugh, quickly covering my mouth with both hands, but only able to muffle the consistent stream of snort laughter. Michael gently shoved me out of the doorway, closing the door in my face.
"I'm so sorry Mikey," I wheezed as a I let my rumbling frame sag against the closed door. "You look so good! I swear!" I gasped.
There was a muffled and indigent 'shut up' from behind the other side of the door, prompting a costume clad Calum to come strutting through the hallway, he struck a pose when he reached me, leading to another fit of giggles.
Calum had kept with the group costume theme, but had clearly embodied his own version. his worn and ragged combat boots on top of graffiti jeans and a band T that had been converted into what could generously be referred to at a tank top, revealing a surprisingly buff upper half. His bedazzled belt buckle was almost enough to draw my eyes away from the heavy handed charcoal lines surrounding both his eyes.
"There's no way he's as pretty as me though." Calum stuck his hip out in another self assured pose and I returned it with a hearty wolf whistle. Michael interjected, opening the door releasing with it a cloud of toxic fumes, and sticking a half electrocuted head of hair out into the hallway.
"Just wait until I'm done with the hairspray, then we'll see who looks pretty." He waggled his eyebrows as a form of challenge before shutting it with a resounding 'thud.'
Calum and I shared a look and chuckled to each other
"So let me guess...80s' rock band?" I guessed, noting the similarities between the two costumes.
Calum gave me a boyish grin, "We prefer the term, 'Hair band.'" I gave a solemn nod, like it was obvious. "Your costume turned out really good. Way better than the slutty nurse." He added, making me hide a smile against my shoulder.
"Thanks, Mikey really made this place look great, huh?" I shrugged off the compliment, looking around at the web coated hallway. The orange lights, hidden and muffled in the fake web, cast halos of light, throwing spider leg shadows across the walk way.
"Come on, let's go throw a couple pizza's in the oven. Luke will be home soon and he'll be hungry when he shows up." At the reminder of Luke's impending arrival my heart started pounding in my chest. Thankfully the bed sheet kept things breezy so the nervous sweat that had suddenly sprung up under my arms would dry easily. I tried not to focus on Luke, or my sweating, as I followed Calum into the kitchen.
I looked around at the last minute details that had been added to the apartment while I was getting my costume together. They really had created their own personal haunted house. The living room had been turned into a demon's dance floor, with all the seating moved out and the multi colored disco lights flashing to the beat of the music. The dining room melded with the theme of hell's kitchen, severed limbs on food platters included.
Even the boys' rooms had been all out converted for the night. Michael's candle lit room had seating all around the walls, Mikey had dubbed it the 'smoking room.' It had taken me longer then I care to admit to figure out is wasn't a room for smoking cigarettes.
Calum's room carried a darker quieter vibe. The room was set up so that three separate groups could coexist without having to interact. This had been lovingly claimed as 'the shy bitches room, till midnight.' When i questioned what happened to the room at midnight Michael had clucked his tongue and gave me a piteous once over before walking away, leaving me to stew in my own naiveté. Luke's room had been virtually left alone beside the valuables they didn't want out during the party which had been moved in there. It was the off limits room for the night, "except for us four," Michael had noted with a wink.
I grabbed myself a Mike's out of the fridge and handed Calum two pizzas out of the freezer. He preheated the oven, grabbing a beer for himself and leaning with me against the counter, a few inches separating our shoulders. We let the silence lay between us naturally like a sleeping dog as the small kitchen began to fill with heat from the oven.
"You know Luke's parents got divorced about the same time mine did?" The silence finally gave way to Calum's hushed serious tone. I felt caught off guard but was achingly curious as to where the conversation was headed, I chose to stay quiet and hoped he'd continue, not wanting my voice to throw him from his train of thought. "It was one of the reasons we became friends. Lots of people knew it was happening, he was the first person to ask me how I felt." He took a deep breath before continuing "I honestly don't know how I would have handled it if he wasn't there."
Calum paused to take a swig of his beer, looking a little sheepish and distraught. I stood, unmoving and silent, rapt with attention.
"I think it was worse with his parents somehow. My parents were happy for a really long time, it didn't seem to me that they had any serious problems until the last year they spent together. So for the first half of my life I grew up in a happy two parent home. Luke's parents on the other hand..." He seemed to be deciding just how much to reveal, although the reason behind this story time was still unknown to me. "They seemed to decide that sticking it out for two out of three boys to grow and get out of the house was wait enough. They had been so worried about staying together for the sake of their children that they hadn't thought about what 15 years of watching an unhappy marriage can do to a kid."
We were both staring at the same wall, seeing two different things. As he painted a private picture of his best friends adolescence, I rubbed the cold bottle between my clammy hands. My mind cast the scene of a young Luke going through a messy divorce, alone. How isolated he must have felt, then this kid had taken all that pain and loneliness and turned it into kindness for someone going through the same situation. The thought made my heart squeeze. Calum suddenly turned to face me, his expression serious, his eyes pleading, begging me to grasp his meaning.
"Some people have never had the opportunity to witness that kind of connection to see...that, happen up close," He paused, his shoulders sagging as he searched my eyes, "Imagine how terrifying it must be to stumble upon something you've truly never seen before and find that you instantly recognize it." His eyes pushed against mine, straining to make me hold onto an understanding that was slick in my fumbling hands, like he had poured a bowl of marbles into my wet palms and I couldn't manage to keep hold of all of them. I nodded woodenly, knowing it was important to him that I understood.
"Who's the prettiest now Ballsack?!" Michael jumped from behind the half wall, shouting excitedly, his recently bleached hair sticking up wildly, and looking kind of crunchy. Contrasting with the dark, paisley, billowing shirt he had half buttoned. His presence instantly disrupting the air of seriousness and startling Calum and I apart. Calum gave Michael a light punch to the bicep, laughing with only a little bit of a forced edge to the sound.
"Ballsack was a one time thing, jerk." Michael rolled his eyes, and flashed his friend a big grin before going back into the intense hostess mode he'd been flipping in and out of all evening.
"Do we have everything ready to go for the party games? I'm talking eyeball pong, mummy wrap, spin the bottle, strip poker?" Michael eyed Calum seriously, and received an equally studious nod.
"And the movies are ready to be watched and drank to, for the shots in the dark." Calum added, Mikey broke out into a a big smile and nodded, looking back at the spooky, funky set up of his apartment with approval.
"Tonight's gonna be awesome," Michael nudged me with a playful amount of pressure. "You excited there Aphrodite?" I rolled my eyes, feeling just a little flattered. Calum was putting in the pizzas and I chose to throw back the last of my drink, as Mikey grabbed us a couple more from the fridge.
"Yeah, I don't know if I've ever really gone out and partied on Halloween before, I don't even think I dressed up last year." In fact, now that I was thinking about it, these 2 weekends with the boys doubled the amount of times I'd gone out in the last three months.
"Well I hope you're ready for the night of your life." Michael declared, sounding as excited as I was beginning to feel. There was a creak and a whoosh of cool autumn air as the door opened.
"Honey! I'm home!" Luke's warm, delighted voice, rang through a little kitchen as he came into view. His smile landed on me instantly, his eyebrows shot up and the smile seemed to get bigger, as he looked me up and down. "Well, hi there you." I bit my lip, trying not to let my grin get away from me.
"Hey, how was work?" I asked, suddenly shy, as if I hadn't spoken to him every day this week. Michael sighed, grumbling under his breath as he began shoving Luke into the dinning room.
"We don't have time for this. Go put on your leather pants and eyeliner and then we'll eat pizza." Luke laughed and didn't fight back as Michael shoved him away from me. Calum and I shared a look, knowing whatever serious conversation we had been having was done, or at least put on hold. "You wanna take a little pre gaming shot?" He offered, shaking a half finished bottle of whiskey at me coyly.
I grinned from cheek to cheek. "Oh, absolutely!"
Lol, So I'm writing this again?? I Guess????
Chapter 10: Spilled Some Things
A long time coming
By 9:30 the entire apartment was full of people, spilling out of rooms, costumes, and just plain spilling. I was wiping up a mystery puddle in the hallway when Luke slipped out of Calum's room. I smiled at him from my crouched position. I had been trying to not stare at him all night, his black leather pants, ripped up muscle tee, and red bandana, didn't even look like a costume, he looked completely right in the whole get up.
"Hey there rockstar." I winked at him, feeling a little frisky. It didn't help that I had started drinking 2 and a half hours ago. He chuckled and grabbed my elbow, helping me to my feet.
"You don't have to do that you know? There will be plenty of spills to clean up in the morning." We stood facing each other in the hallway, having to get closer and closer so people could squeeze past us. He rubbed the back of his neck, flashing his freshly painted black nails in doing so. "Are you planning on being here in the morning?" I bit my lip and nodded, pressing my chest forward so it brushed against his when we both took a deep breath.
"Yeah I did...if that's okay."
The look between us seemed to intensify with the silence. I felt that same feeling from when we were in the kitchen, the tips of fingers and toes felt hot, my lips started to burn, I felt like something inside me was filling, on the verge of bursting. Luke cleared his throat suddenly, looking away from me and deflating that feeling within me.
"So, have you gotten to play any of the games, or have you been too busy on clean up duty?" The corner of his mouth lifted, his eyes darting between mine and the crowd. It was possibly the most shaken I'd ever seen Luke get.
"No actually, not yet." I shook my head, and he grabbed my elbow again and started leading me out of the hall way and into a flurry of flying toilet paper and shouting. I caught a glimpse of Calum weaving a roll of toilet paper between the legs of a half wrapped Michael. I giggled at the two of them and let Luke take me to the beer pong tables.
"Oh are you looking for a little rematch?" I challenged.
"No, I was actually looking to get you on my team. Figured we'd be stronger together." He flashed me a lopsided grin and a wink my way as he slid into an open spot at one end of a table, making me melt instantly. He quickly started racking the cups. I stood behind him, hoping the two scantly clad 'prison inmates' didn't notice me staring at his arms. Although they seemed to be doing some staring of their own. Not that I could blame the two of them. That muscle tee looked like it'd been in the middle of a fight between two rabid dogs, and wasn't leaving much to the imagination.
We ended up cleaning the floor with the two girly prisoners, and then won again against a football player and a sexy Freddy Krueger.
"We are killing it right now!" I whooped, leaning against Luke just a tad. We may be winning but that didn't mean we weren't still drinking and it was starting to get a little fuzzy around the edges, my motor skills were not at their best. Luke laughed and placed his palm on the familiar spot on my lower back, steadying me in the process.
"Do you want to take a break and grab some water." He leaned and whispered into my ear.
"Yeah, I think that's a good idea. Plus it'll give everyone else a chance to actually win." He started pulling me towards the kitchen, the only place that didn't have bodies pressed against bodies. He grabbed us each a bottle of water and leaned against the counter across from me. We both stood smiling in the dark. I felt good and floaty, like I had when I first ran into Luke. The alcohol made everything simple, he was here, close to me, and it made my heart beat hard against my chest. He was handsome, and the way he made me feel whenever he looked at me, it wasn't something I'd ever experienced before. I sipped my water and tried not to look at his lips too much.
"You know, I've been looking forward to this party all week. Knowing that you were going to be here made it hard to wait," His arm strained as he clenched the edge of the counter as I blushed in the low light. "Are you having a good night so far?" He changed the subject quickly, but the look on his face made my breath catch in my throat.
"Yeah, I really am...I think you might be a big part of that though." I answered honestly, looking away from him and into the dark corner of the kitchen. I could hear more people walking into the apartment, but the only thing I noticed was Luke taking a step closer to me.
"Then you won't mind stepping away from the party to have a cigarette with me?" He ran his hand down my arm and goosebumps followed his finger tips. My body seemed to move a fraction of an inch closer to him, involuntarily. He seemed to be breathing just as heavily as me. I was almost angry at how lightly he was touching me, I needed something firmer, I needed his hands heavy and all over me.
"I'd like that." I practically whispered, but I knew he heard me. His hand found the crook of my elbow, the heat felt enticing and familiar all at the same time and I was ready to have him lead me off somewhere.
"Luke!" Just as we were about to reach the door Calum came crashing through a group of people, clearly drunk and with a huge smile plastered on his face. "Come on dude, that guy I told you about is here. You gotta come meet him, man." Calum seemed so excited, Luke gave me a look like he was asking for my input, I shrugged, mildly unbothered. The cigarette could wait, it wasn't like I was going to find the fit of his leather pants any less mouth watering in 20 minutes.
Luke moved his hand to the small of my back as he guided me through the crowd, while Calum talked animatedly about his old friend.
"We haven't seen each other in a couple of years, I actually don't think I've seen him since high school." Calum opened the door to Michael's room, smoke rolling out the second the door opened. "Mikey, come on." Michael came out coughing, joining our little hallway group.
"Wait, wouldn't they know him too, if you guys went to high school together?" I questioned, leaning comfortably into Luke.
Calum shook his head, taking a large gulp, that he probably didn't need, from a red solo cup. "This is from the other school I went to, when I lived with my dad part of the time. But I met this guy the same way, through music. That's why I know these guys are gonna get along so well." He patted Michael on the back, and we finally made our way to Calum's bedroom. We all shuffled in together and I giggled at our little scuttles. Luke's hands squeezed the sides of my waist, making me giggle more.
"Do you want another drink here soon?" He mumbled gruffly, his face semi burying itself in my hair. I closed my eyes, savoring the moment, feeling too buzzed and too good to care what I might look like walking into a room full of strangers. I wasn't going to be upset about it if some random dude mistook me and Luke for a couple.
"Y/N? What the hell?" My eyes snapped open, the room was dark and there were multiple people I didn't recognize right away, my vision was blurry and it took a second for me to see passed the red dye job, but the hair was just the same wavy mop, I recognized the set jaw. I stood up straight, moving away from Luke without purposefully meaning to. I could barely meet the eyes I had been looking into for 2 years up until a month ago.