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Missing Piece

Chapter Text

He was unnerving.

Anyone that lived on the street thought so.

Even if his grandmother seemed to think that he was her perfect angel.

Your own father had described her as an absolute nut. He had told you to stay away from the house and from them. For a long while you had adhered to that rule. You had been absolutely content to just go about your life with school and friends. Plus you always got a strange vibe whenever you walked by that house as well as the infamous Murder House. You could never forget the stories that you had been told about the Harmon family. After the entire house was practically legend in the Los Angeles area.

You hadn’t been raised in Los Angeles but your father was originally from there. Your grandfather had left him the house which is why the move. You hadn’t minded it even if you never thought you’d be living in California. Everything was so different from what you were used to. You had done your best to welcome the change even if you felt unsure about it all.

Somehow you had made friends and even dated one or two boys.

The first time you talked to Michael Langdon had been strange. You had been hanging out a friend’s house for a while. You had thought about asking for a ride home but decided against it. That was because you knew her car was currently acting up. Plus you figured that a walk wouldn’t be that bad. You had ear buds in and your phone was tucked in your pocket.

You had been in your own world as you reached your street. Absently humming along to whatever song had come on thanks to shuffle. Of course you knew that you were going to need to figure out something for dinner. It was likely that your dad wasn’t going to be around. He tended to work long hours which left you alone more often than not. It was something that you were used to. Your hands were wrapped around the straps of your backpack that rested against your shoulders.

Due to how spaced out you were, you didn’t realize you were passing Murder House. The gates were shut and the, For Sale sign remained in the front yard. No one was willing to go near it after everything. The real estate agency was probably going crazy trying to get it off their books. Your head was bopping from side to side as you moved along. At least until you felt a hand grasping at your backpack.

You were suddenly propelled back which caused a squeal to erupt from you. Your hands reached to tug the ear buds from your ears.

“What the hell?”

You were greeted by the sound of laughter. You were unable to stop yourself from turning to see who it was that had grabbed you. Part of you was prepared to yell at whoever was stupid enough to scare you in such a fashion! After all you had been minding your own business.

To your immense surprise you found yourself face to face with Michael. You only knew who he was due to the few brief glimpses of him you had seen. His grandmother seemed to keep him in the house. Your eyes instantly were searching to see if she was anywhere to be seen. Did she even know that he was outside? How long would it take for her to realize he wasn’t?

“What are you doing out here?” you asked, utterly confused,” Shouldn’t you be inside?”

His laughter instantly stopped at the question you asked.

Had you asked the wrong question?

“I see you all the time,” he explained,” I see you with your father and your friends.”

The way that he spat out the word father made chills shoot up your spine. You had no idea who his parents were and Constance never told anyone. There was so much mystery that encircled the both of them. For the first time ever you found yourself taking a good look at him.

There was no doubting that he was an absolute beauty. He had blonde curls and stunning blue eyes that anyone could get lost in. Something about him seemed to project innocence. He was rather tall and somewhat lanky. It was like he wasn’t fit for his body. He was dressed in a pale blue t-shirt and a pair of khaki pants. To your immense confusion you noticed that his feet were bare.

“I never see you,” you told him, unsure what more to say,” I only ever see your grandmother.”

You found yourself peering around him towards the house that was behind him. Some part of you knew that you should keep moving. The last thing that you needed was his grandma to come out to create a scene. Everyone knew just how dramatic Constance was.

“She’s running errands and my nanny is sleeping.”

His nanny? Wasn’t he too old to have one? You did have to admit that there was something about him that radiated childlike behavior.

“So you decided to sneak out and scare one of your neighbors?”

“I just wanted to get your attention.”

He had certainly done that and probably would have even if he hadn’t literally propelled you back. You didn’t exactly know what it was that was happening right then. Why he had decided that he wanted to get your attention when you had resided on the same street for a few years.

“Well you got it.”

That caused his mouth to curve into a smile that practically spelled sin.

You felt your phone buzzing in your pocket which drew your attention away from him. It was a text from your dad telling you that he needed you to let the dog out since he had forgot. Of course you were used to taking care of things when he wasn’t around. That was because it was just the two of you so you picked up the slack.

“I should be going,” you said after a moment,” I have to take care of some things around the house.”

His smile quickly turned into a frown. You went to take a step forward only for his long fingers to curl around your dainty wrist. Every single limb in your body tensed at the small touch. Some small part of you knew that perhaps you should be scared. After all you knew nothing about him save for the rumors that had spread. Those weren’t exactly comforting.

“Can I come with you?”

It was posed as a question but you had the feeling it wasn’t. You looked towards his face to see the pleading expression that danced across his face. His lower lip jutted out in a pout that most models would kill for. You could feel goose bumps forming in spite of the heat.

“Won’t you get in trouble?”

He merely waved your question off.

You glanced towards his bare feet before looking back up towards his face. He seemed to notice because he was looking down at them as well.

“I’ll be right back!”

You watched him turn and he was heading back towards his house. The irrational part of you was telling you to stay put. Though you could knew instantly that you should run. Even if you felt unsure you found yourself high tailing it down the street. It was a mere relief when your house came into view and rushed inside. You slammed the door behind you and pressed your back against it.

What had just happened?

The second time you saw him was late at night.

You had gone to a party with a few friends and had possibly one too many drinks. None of that mattered since you weren’t driving. You had been dropped off by a friend of yours but had yet to go inside. Instead you had made yourself comfortable on the street curb. The idea of going inside was not one that you found you liked. It was rather muggy outside but you didn’t care.

Your shoes had been kicked off shortly after you sat down. Your purse was right beside you and your phone inside of it. You had made yourself content just staring up at the sky. You were humming a song that your mother used to sing to you when you were a child. Part of you was starting to think that maybe you shouldn’t have had so many drinks or at least not mixed any of them.

Some part of you knew that you must have made an interesting picture. Your hair had been done up in a twist with strands falling out of it. The eye liner and mascara you had applied carefully was now smeared. Your skin was coated with sweat thanks to all the dancing you had done. Plus you probably reeked of booze and possibly pot. Someone had been passing around a joint.

“You ran away from me.”

The voice caused you to jump nearly a mile high. Your head whipped to the left to see Michael standing a few feet away from you. His arms were crossed and a hurt look plastered on his face. It took you a few moments to think about what he was talking about. You had tried to forget your first encounter with the strange boy that lived down the street. Again you were confused by how he was out of the house.

“I was-I wasn’t sure what I was doing.”

He was studying you as if you were the most interesting thing on the planet. It seemed to take him a minute to realize that you were in an intoxicated state. His head cocked to the side after he realized it. Then he was grinning from ear to ear.

“You shouldn’t be out here,” he told you in a sing song voice,” It’s late.”

You merely shrugged since you were used to being out at such hours. Instead of saying anything you were struggling to clamber up to your feet. His hands shot out in order to steady you given how unsteady you were. You merely made a face as you looked down at your purse. Why had you not grabbed it before standing up? You knew if you swooped down to pick it up that you would likely get dizzy.

“Come on,” he told you before he was reaching to pick up your purse,” Let’s get you inside.”

You might have protested if you weren’t feeling tipsy. Your rational mind would have told you to not allow him into your home. You already knew that your father was likely sleeping. Michael was pulling your house keys out from your purse. Thanks to the hold that he had on you, the two of you were walking up the front path. If anyone saw you they would wonder why you were allowing Michael Langdon into your home.

He was going to unlock the front door as if he owned the place. You merely allowed it as the two of you walked in. Rather he walked whereas you stumbled. He was taking his shoes from you and setting them down. You were taking a breath as you glanced around.

There was a rather loud bark that made the both of you jump. You turned to see your German shepherd standing in the entryway to the living room. Her head was cocked to the side as he looked at the two of you. You were merely relieved that he hadn’t decided to jump on either of you. That was a habit that you had yet to break her out of.

“Go back to sleep,” you told her, waving towards the dog bed that was underneath the window in the living room,” Go on girl!”

Michael looked amused at the sight of you trying to shoo her away. He was looking around at everything in the house that actually seemed like a home. There was a table in the front hall that held some family photos. There was one of you from when you were younger with both your parents. Another of you standing on top of a hill covered in snow with a sled in your hands.

“Which way to your room?” he asked after he stared at them for a moment,” I’ll get you to bed.”

You almost felt like you should tell him that he could leave. After all he had seen you safely inside of your home. Instead you were motioning down the hall to where your room was. Upstairs was your father’s room and the guest room as well a bathroom. Down the hall were your room was and your own bathroom. To the right was the dining room which was also connected to the kitchen.

Together you were walking down the hall to your room. He was stepping in first and taking a look around your private space. Your room was painted a somewhat darker shade of purple. You had a desk that was old, the white paint chipping. It held your lap top as well as some school books. It also housed some candles on the shelves. Your bed was a twin and covered by a grey comforter that had a purple flower pattern on it. There was only one window that was right by your bed.

It was covered by grey curtains that you had closed before leaving the house. You went to flip on the light once you stepped in behind him. Quickly you were shutting the door behind you. Even if you felt a tiny bit uncomfortable you didn’t need the dog or your dad to come barging in.

He was going to lift you from your feet which took you by surprise. You let out a squeak as he set you down on your bed. To your surprise he was going towards your dresser. In a few moments he had produced an oversized t-shirt of yours as well as your favorite pair of sweats.

“You don’t need to do this,” you mumbled as he neared the bed,” You don’t even know me.”

“I want to know you.”

Chapter Text

You barely remembered what happened after Michael put you in your bed.

Almost everything was a blur besides him saying he wanted to know you.

There was only one thing you were sure of the very next day.

That one thing was that you were incredibly hung over.

You were nursing a splitting headache and fighting the impending nausea. You only woke up due to the sound of your dad moving about in the kitchen. There was the smell of pancakes wafting throughout the house. The smell caused your stomach to lurch. Instantly you groaned and slammed the pillow over your face. Why had you thought that drinking was such a good idea?

It took you a few moments to remember that Michael had been in your room the previous night. Quickly you yanked the pillow away from your face. There was absolutely no sign of him in your room. Had he left when you had fallen asleep? Your mind was buzzing with questions and you were absolutely worried. You had no idea why Michael had such an interest in you.

You knew that you should probably get out of bed and get moving. The idea of staying in bed was rather tempting considering the warmth of the blankets. You felt safe and protected wrapped in your own cocoon. Instead you forced yourself to throw the blankets aside. The moment you did your entire body tensed. You were dressed in your pajamas which you didn’t change into last night.

At least not that you remembered.

You shook your head at that thought as your feet met the ground. As far as you were concerned you were going to act like nothing bad happened. You intended on just going about things like it was a normal day. That was what made you head towards the kitchen. The smell of food got stronger with every step that you took. That only caused your nausea to get worse.

Your dad was setting two plates on the small table in the kitchen. You glanced at the stack of pancakes and had to stop yourself from groaning. One of your hands rested against your stomach as you plopped into one of the chairs. Your dad was whistling as he went to set the bottle of syrup right on the table.

“Morning kiddo,” he greeted, reaching to ruffle your hair,” I thought you’d sleep all day.”

You made some sort of noise in response. Your brain and mouth weren’t exactly fully functioning. You knew that you might feel better if you had some food in your system. The idea of actually ingesting anything was revolting. It took you a moment but you were reaching to pick up a fork. After slathering the pancakes in syrup you went to take a bite.
Your stomach protested but you managed to keep it down.

“I have a bunch of meetings but I wanted to check in before I leave.”

You weren’t surprised that he was going to be gone even on a Saturday. You only nodded as you chewed and swallowed the food in your mouth.

“I’m fine, school’s good, everything’s good.”

“Any plans for the day?”

You were shaking your head in an instant. As far as you were concerned you wanted to just be lazy all day. Plus it meant lessening your chances of running into Michael. You still didn’t understand how he was getting out of the house so much. It had never happened before since Constance kept him on a tight leash.

“I’m hoping you’ll go grocery shopping,” he told you as he went to hand you a few twenties,” I noticed we are running low on stuff.”

You wanted to tell him no but chose against it. Instead you reached for the money and set it on the table. Maybe after a shower you’d feel more up to going to get groceries. You forced yourself to keep eating even if you felt like you might end up throwing it up. The last thing that you wanted was your father to realize that you were hung over. The two of you had a trusting relationship which you didn’t want to ruin.

The two of you ate breakfast in silence. It wasn’t long before he was heading out the door after pressing a kiss to your forehead. You remained sitting at the kitchen table after he left. Your gaze went towards the cash that was on the table. A sigh came from you but you knew that you had to go. Even if all you wanted was to go right back to bed. Instead you opted to shuffle down the hall and head straight for the bathroom.

The water took a bit to warm up as you shed your clothes. You were avoiding looking at the mirror since you knew you likely looked like hell. If you didn’t look it than you certainly felt like it. You took a breath before you were going to climb into the shower. All the while you were trying to remember just what had happened the previous night. For some reason it just wasn’t coming back to you.

You took your time in washing your hair with your coconut scented shampoo. You could only hope that you wouldn't end up puking your guts out. It was an utter relief to you that you hadn’t lost the contents of your stomach. Your shower lasted longer than they usually did. That was due to the state that you found yourself in. After the shower you were slow to get dressed.

You opted to put on a forest green tank top that had two inch straps. There were slits on either side of it that went to your middle. You had chosen a pair of white shorts to go with it. For shoes you decided on a pair of brown gladiator style sandals. You pulled your hair up into a messy bun since you didn’t exactly care how you looked. After taking some aspirin you put on a pair of sunglasses.

After you grabbed your purse and keys, you went to grab the cash. The money went into your wallet and you forced yourself to take a step outside. The sun greeted you and also made you cringe. You knew that no matter what that you needed to get moving. You threw the strap of your purse over your shoulder before making your way down the street.
There were some others out and about. A few kids playing catch in front of their house. Out of the corner of your eye you spotted a couple jogging on the other side of the street. You knew that you had a few options as to how to get to the store. One of which was calling up a friend for a ride. You still didn’t have your own car but your dad had promised to buy you one soon. It didn’t matter to you since he had a lot to deal with already.

You had always managed to get around on your own anyway.

That day you decided that you were going to take the bus. You found yourself walking towards the bus stop that was on the far end of the street. One of your hands was resting against your temple to try to ease the pain. It took you a few moments but you kept on moving. The bus ride wasn’t that bad even if there was a wailing baby whose mother couldn’t seem to calm it down. You merely focused on playing with your phone.

The grocery store was busier than you would have liked. One thing you would never admit was that you got road rage when it came to pushing carts through the aisles. You hated it when people would stand in the middle and have a conversation like they were the only ones in the store. You managed to get all the basics just with enough time to catch a bus home.

Your arms were full of the paper bags as you walked down your street. Your headache had gotten only a bit better. It was going to be a relief when you were back in your house. Especially since you wanted to be somewhere with air conditioning. The blasted heat was more than enough to get to you. You might have had more patience for it if you weren’t hung over.

You found yourself moving a bit faster as you approached murder house. Everything felt off ever since the first time Michael had decided to approach you. You just wanted to get home before you spotted him or possibly even Constance.

Luck was not on your side.

“You look like you need some help.”

Your head whipped to the side when you heard her voice. There stood Constance on her front porch. She was dressed neatly in some modest blue number. A cigarette was poised in her right hand and a glass of what you assumed was scotch in her left. She was looking at you with an interest that made your skin crawl. You realized that she had asked if you wanted help. It was clear she meant with the grocery bags.

“I got it!” you called out from your spot on the sidewalk,” It’s not a big deal.”

She was shaking her head and you watched her head turn back into the house.

“Michael! Come help the poor girl!”

Your eyes grew big when suddenly Michael was joining her on the porch. He looked almost irritated at the fact that his grandmother had called for him. At least until his gaze landed on you and he was smiling. You had to stop yourself from cursing like a sailor. All the while you were trying to balance your hold on everything that was cradled in your arms.

“I really am fine Constance!”

She merely shook her head and was pushing Michael down the stairs. It wasn’t as if the boy needed some sort of encouragement. He was more than happy when he reached you. You nearly stepped back as his arms reached to lessen the load.His smile seemed to grow when he noticed your uneasiness. Your arms were practically screaming thanks when the bags were lifted from your hold. You only had one whereas he had taken the other two. You forced yourself to put on a smile and waved to Constance as a way of saying thanks. Together Michael and you continued to down the street.

“You don’t look so good.”

You were trying to ignore how his gaze was practically boring into the side of your skull. You realized that you probably needed to say something to him.

“I’m just fighting a hangover.”

“Maybe you shouldn’t drink.”

You glared at him but doubted he noticed considering your sunglasses. It wasn’t like you were like some of the people you went to school with. You sighed as you both walked towards your house. You reached to pull out your keys and together you headed in towards the kitchen. Michael was setting the bags on the table and you placed yours on the counter.

The air conditioning was a welcome relief the moment it washed over you. You were reaching to pull off your sunglasses and set them aside.

“Do you need water?”

Your head turned to see Michael standing super close to you. He was looking at you with concern in his eyes. You realized very quickly that personal space meant nothing to him. It was as if no one had told him about such a concept.

“I’m really fine Michael.”

“My grandma always drinks water after she drinks.”

The sentence sounded strange coming out of his perfect pouty mouth. It sounded like something a child would say. There were so many things about him that were confusing. You sighed, rubbing one of your eyes with the back of your hand.

“It’s really not that bad.”

“You never look like this.”

You had the feeling that he wasn’t going to let it go. It took you a moment but you were going to grab one of the glasses from the cupboard. You made a show of turning on the sink and allowing the ice cold water to flow into it. Once it was halfway full you shut off the sink and went to take a few sips. All the while your eyes were locked onto his. He seemed pleased that you were at least having some water.

You gulped down a bit more before setting the glass down.

“Shouldn’t you be heading back home?”

His eye brows furrowed at your words.

“My grandma said to help you and the food isn’t put away yet.”

The smile on his face let you know that he was proud of himself. You merely shook your head before you were beginning to pull everything out. He was following suit and doing the same thing. There was silence for a few minutes as you both got everything organized. You went to put the milk and the juice in the fridge. Michael was shuffling around behind you and trying to figure out where to put things. You really didn’t understand what he was up to. There had to be some reason he seemed to want to slither into your life. It was a relief when you realized that the both of you got all the food put away. You went to fold up the bags and place them on the shelf in the closet.

Since your mom was gone you were the one who had organized everything.

“Well we are done putting it away.”

“Can I stay for a while?”

You bit down on your lip and had to force yourself to remember to breathe. Your hands curled into fists that rested against the outside of your thighs.

“What the hell are you trying to do?”

He seemed to get visibly upset by the question. The smile was gone from his face and he looked different. There was a flash of disappoint in his eyes.

“I told you I want to get to know you!”

His voice had gotten just a bit louder.

“Are you kidding me?”

His head violently shook from side to side and once more he was closing in on you.

“You didn’t seem to mind last night! You seemed happy that I was there to help you! That I took care of you! That I made sure you didn’t throw up on yourself!”

His words made your blood run cold. Had he actually stayed even after you passed out? Had he changed you into your pajamas? That meant that he had seen more of your body than you were comfortable with. You were reaching to just barely nudge him away from you. He didn’t exactly move even with your fingers pushing against his chest. For someone who looked so lanky he certainly was strong.

“How long did you stay here?”

Your voice was on the verge of shaking due to the tightness in your throat.

“I left before the sun came up.”

That basically meant that he had stayed the night. Had he stayed in your bed with you while you were sleeping? The idea of that was unnerving to say at the very least. You had no idea what sort of game he was playing. Did you even want to be a part of it? Better yet, did you even have a choice?

“I thought your grandma likes to keep you close.”

His frown only worsened and you wondered what that was about. To your surprise he didn’t say anything back to you. He seemed eager to talk beforehand. You reached to rest your hand against the back of your neck. Your mind was buzzing since you weren’t sure what to do. It was becoming evident that he did want to spend time with you for some reason. Plus you had the feeling that he was used to getting his way. If he didn’t you weren’t sure you wanted to know what he would do.

You let out a sigh as you tried to figure out what to do. Part of you wanted to stall but he was staring at you intently. Of course you found yourself wondering how someone who looked like him didn’t have a girlfriend. Surely he attracted all kinds of people, men and women alike.

“How about I put on a movie?”

He didn’t give you an answer instead he made his way towards the living room. The blissful smile was back on his face. His mood swings were going to give you whip lash. You went to pick up your glass of water before you were following him into the living room. To your surprise he was standing there and staring at your dog. She was curled up on her dog bed and staring right back up at him.

“I’m surprised she didn’t start barking,” you mumble, going to turn on the television,” Her name is Clover by the way.”

Michael only nodded as he went to make himself comfortable on your couch. You weren’t entirely sure what sort of movie to put on. You found yourself putting Netflix on and handing him the remote. After that you were plopping down right beside him. Due to the fact that your back was facing him, you couldn’t see how he was practically beaming.
It took you a few minutes to land on a movie. You set the remote down before making an attempt to try to get comfortable. You were also trying to make sure that there was some sort of space between the two of you. You propped your arm against the arm of the sofa and rested your head against your hand. If you were being honest with yourself you were craving more sleep.

Your stomach had barely managed to calm down.

You were watching the movie and Michael was more or less watching you. One of his arms was draped across the back of the sofa. You were practically curled up in the corner and he was taking up most of the couch. Minutes ticked by and neither of you said a word.

“Are you falling asleep?”

Your body jerked at the question and you could feel yourself blushing. Minutes had gone by and you had been drifting off. You slowly nodded, not wanting to say anything.

“I just feel tired.”

He was reaching for you to your surprise. You barely had time to think as he slowly pulled you towards him. You found yourself practically curled up against his frame. He seemed almost unnaturally warm. Every single limb in your body was tense. His fingers were reaching to pull the elastic band from your hair. For someone you barely knew he seemed to very comfortable touching you.

Neither of you said a word and you barely remembered how to breathe. His fingers were beginning to run through your hair which you were suddenly thankful you had washed. It had been a very long time since anyone had done what he was. Your mother used to play with your hair when you were sick. All of that had happened forever ago or that was what it seemed like.

“Just sleep.”

His voice was sweet like honey. Even if you knew you should be on your guard you found yourself relaxing. Whether it was due to his hand in your hair or your exhaustion, you didn’t know. Somehow you were melting into him and sleep was claiming you.

You were in such trouble.

Chapter Text

Michael seemed determined to worm his way into your life.

Over the next few weeks not a day went by that you didn’t see him.

Sometimes he’d wait for you at the end of the street when you got home from school.

Sometimes you’d even run into him at school.

You almost forgot that he attended the same one as you. Most of the other students steered clear of him. Everyone thought he was strange even though everyone also thought that he was beautiful. He’d sometimes walk with you to class and be waiting at the door at the end of it. Your friends were all curious as to why he suddenly seemed to be attached to your hip. You weren’t even sure what to make of it.

He seemed nice but you knew that there was more to him. That it was possibly just a facade and a very convincing one. His moods would constantly be changing at the drop of a hat. Sometimes he would be fine and then he would be angry. His temper seemed uncontrollable . One thing that you noticed seemed to set him off was his grandmother. He never said anything but you knew something was there.

Whenever you were around the both of them there was an underlying tension. The way that she would look at him was like he was a bug that needed to be squashed. There were times you thought that he was vying for her approval and then other times he wished she would disappear. She seemed to be determined to push the two of you together. You didn’t understand why and never asked. Of course you weren’t stupid enough to let your father know who you were spending time with. Thankfully his work seemed to keep him more than occupied.

You didn’t understand how your life had been turned upside down so quickly.

That evening you found yourself knocking on his front door. Constance had invited you over for dinner but you had the feeling it wasn’t exactly an invitation. It seemed more like a demand from the tone of her voice. Michael had sent you a pleading look which was the reason you found yourself standing there. Your father was out of town again so it beat ordering some sort of take out. You had opted to run to a bakery in order to pick up some cupcakes for dessert. It was the least that you could do since they were going to be feeding you.

There was the sound of rushed footsteps and the door was swinging open. There stood Michael wearing a plain white t-shirt and a pair of faded jeans. The smile on his face was one that could cause even the coldest of hearts to melt. You found yourself caught off guard at the sight of him.

“You came!”

His voice was filled with both surprise and delight. It was strange how so often he seemed like a child. You nodded as you went to hold out the cupcakes.

“I’m here and I also brought dessert!”

He was reaching to take them but then his hand also shot out to grasp your wrist. You were being pulled inside and the door was shut behind you. The smell of food wafted down the hall. Though you didn’t hear any noise to your surprise. You would have thought you would hear Constance moving about. Was she not there? You wanted to ask but instead opted to follow Michael towards the kitchen.

The table was set but it was only set for two.

The sense of confusion only seemed to grow. You weren’t entirely sure what you should do. Of course you knew that Michael would likely grow upset if you did try to leave. What was Constance trying to do? You took a breath before moving towards their fridge.

“What do you want to drink Michael?”

You had become familiar with his home in the time you had spent together. You had even stumbled upon the closet full of mirrors. Michael hadn’t been able to explain just why that was there. Though his expression had darkened upon the sight of you standing in the entryway of the closet. He had turned off the light and pulled you away without so much as a word. You had tried to forget about it.

“Water.”

You nodded before going to grab yourself a soda and pouring him a glass from the pitcher. Both beverages were set on the table by the plates full of steaming hot food. Michael was planting himself in one of the chairs. Your stomach was full of butterflies before you were sitting down as well. He was instantly digging into his food but you couldn’t even bring yourself to lift up your fork. Instead you found yourself staring at him.

He didn’t seem to notice as he shoveled food into his mouth.

“Where is Constance?”

He had the fork poised at his lips but he was lowering it at the question. The action alone caused you to feel even more nervous. Should you not have pointed out that his grandmother wasn’t there? Did he not find it odd that she had basically left two teenagers in the house? Of course you had realized that he didn’t think like everyone else did. It was almost as if he had a different perception when it came to literally everything.

“She left.”

“Where did she go?”

“She just said she would be back later.”

You instantly were wondering what later meant. What sort of game was she playing? You tried not to make a face but found yourself picking up your fork. It took you a moment but you were scooping up some of the pot roast. That seemed to make Michael’s smile grow. You couldn’t help but shake your head in amusement but brought the food up to your lips. Quickly you took a bite which prompted him to begin to dig in as well.

After dinner he practically begged you to watch a movie with him. Something told you that he didn’t love the idea of being left alone. That was how the two of you found yourself sitting in his bedroom. Two cupcakes were on a plate and you both were sitting on his bed. You had decided to sit towards the foot of the bed while he made himself comfortable against the headboard. You were trying to maintain some form of distance. The idea of being close to him just seemed dangerous.

Of course it was nearly impossible for you to find a comfortable position. You kept shifting in an effort to find one that suited you. You were unsure what to do but you found yourself sitting with your legs crossed beneath you. You had all but forgotten the cupcakes that you had brought up. All because your nerves seemed to be getting the best of you. Minutes passed and you were trying to focus on the movie. It was one you had seen a thousand times before.

Suddenly there was the feeling of fingers dancing up along the curve of your spine. Breath tickled the back of your neck and caused goosebumps to form on the exposed skin. It didn’t take a genius to figure out that Michael had moved so that he was directly behind you. You found yourself suddenly incapable of speech. Your breath hitched in your throat and you were trying to figure out what had gotten into him. He had taken to touching you out of nowhere recently. Sometimes it was just his hand brushing against yours. He had once put his arm around your shoulders when he had approached you in the hall at school. That had likely been because you had been talking with your lab partner. Other times his hip would collide with yours and he wouldn’t even mumble an apology.

Instead he would merely shoot you that grin that could make any girl swoon. You really didn’t understand why he was so determined to be close to you. It wasn’t like you had ever gone out of your way to be kind to him. You had been one of the many people who avoided him before. Now it seemed that not a day went by where he didn’t pop up somewhere.

“What are you doing?” you whispered, the movie basically forgotten.

Michael opted to not give you any sort of answer.

Instead he continued to run his fingers along your spine. You couldn’t see his face but you had the feeling that he was smiling. Your fingers were reaching to curl into the fabric of his comforter. Part of you wanted to pull away and leave. Instead something was keeping you rooted to the spot.

“Michael.”

There was nothing but silence.

His fingers continued their exploration of your back. To your immense surprise he was sliding his digits under the fabric of your top. You nearly jumped the moment his fingers met with your bare skin. The fabric of your top was pushing up as his hand moved further. Instantly you felt exposed as the fabric inched up higher and higher.

“Don’t you like this?”

He practically croaked out the words.

It was you that was rendered speechless at the moment.

He seemed to take your silence as an answer. His hand continued to venture further up until his fingers brushed against your bra strap. You seemed to spring to life at that moment. Your head whipped to the side to look towards his face. He seemed alarmed at your sudden movement. His fingers curled around the clasp and you could tell that he was nervous. His chest was heaving and he was taking deep breaths.

“Michael,” you choked out,” You shouldn’t be doing this.”

His grip didn’t loosen or get any tighter.

“Why not?”

“It’s just that we shouldn’t be doing this, we’re just friends.”

Your words seemed to burn him as he suddenly pulled his hand back. Your shirt was still bunched above your bra strap and you had yet to move. You had no idea what in the world was going on with his head. How he seemed to think that what he was doing was okay. That there was nothing in the least bit alarming about how he was touching you. Maybe it was the fact that he seemed so innocent that it threw you off.

No guy had ever tried to explore your frame in such a fashion. Most of them were only focused on certain parts of your body. You were so utterly confused by everything about Michael. He acted like a child sometimes but there were flashes of the man that he was clearly going to be.

“I thought you liked it.”

He hadn’t moved away from you fully but you had the feeling he was tempted. You were reaching to pull the hem of your shirt right back down. Quickly you shifted so that you were facing him. Your legs brushed against his as you got settled. Every move that you made was timid but you were reaching to tilt his chin up. He didn’t seem to want to meet your eyes with his own given the way he was behaving. Did he feel like you had outright rejected him?

“I don’t understand what it is you are trying to do Michael.”

His eyes narrowed somewhat and his mouth turned into a thin line.

“I’m just trying to make you feel good, feel appreciated!”

“You don’t have to do that.”

He was suddenly converging towards you, moving as fast as a snake. His hands were grasping at your face as his chest brushed against your own. You found yourself leaning back and grasping at the foot board of his bed. If you hadn’t you knew that you likely would have tumbled to the ground.

“You aren’t used to being treated how you should!” he hissed, suddenly venomous.

You were feeling so very unnerved. You knew about his moods changing at the drop of a hat. It was the first time that you two were as close as you were that one was happening. His fingers were pinching at your skin as he held onto you. Your own hands were trembling as you went to grasp at his wrists.

“Michael,” you whispered, knowing you needed to calm him down,” I realize that you think I should be treated a certain way but we have never talked about anything like this.”

Your words didn’t seem to calm him down or register with him.

Instead he was pressing his forehead against your own while taking deep breaths. The close proximity was doing nothing to help your racing heart. You knew already that he had never dated anyone. He was just about as innocent as one in high school could possibly be.

“Don’t you like me?”

The question seemed to be a very dangerous one. It was also one that you weren’t entirely sure how to answer. You found your hands raising to thread through his blonde hair. It was soft just like you thought it would be. Sometimes his beauty took you by surprise since it wasn’t often you used the word beautiful to describe a boy.

“I do like you,” you told him slowly,” I thought you just wanted to be my friend.”

His hand slid towards your throat only for you to feel his fingers wrapping around it. The action caused your eyes to widen and you waited to see if he would begin to apply pressure. Instead they just remained right there as you struggled to figure out what to do. It was your own fault that you were in the situation that you were in. You didn’t have to agree to watching a movie and could have easily left. Instead you were feeling so many conflicting emotions.
The most prominent one was fear.

It wasn’t often that you were scared of anyone.

“I never said that I wanted to be your friend,” he whispered harshly,” I never once gave you any sort of indication that was all I wanted from you!”

You wanted to beg him to move his hand. For some reason something was stopping you from doing so. Instead one of your hands left his hair to rest against his wrist. His skin was incredibly hot to the touch. You knew at that point that both of your hearts were racing. You hated how intense everything had become all in matter of seconds. It was so strange for you since no boy had ever acted like him before.

“Michael!”

The both of you were taken by surprise at the sound of booming voice. Both of you turned your heads to see a worried Constance standing in the doorway. Her eyes were wide and her hold on the door frame was tight. Michael suddenly released you so fast it was like you had burned him. Instantly you leaped from the bed to put some distance between you and him. Constance was reaching for you before you even realized it.

She was reaching to pull you into the hall and behind her.

“Grandma I didn’t hurt her!”

She held her hand up as if to show him that he didn’t need to keep explaining himself. You knew that he hadn’t bruised you and your throat wasn’t tender. Yet your hands shot up to grasp at it as if to make sure. Michael had left the bed only to peer over his grandmother’s shoulder to look at you. You were half certain that the expression on his face mirrored your own. Both of you were shocked due to what had happened and the interruption.

The anger in him seemed to have disappeared. Instead his expression was a pleading one as he stared at you. The irrational side of your brain was telling you to reach out to him. Though you knew that it was likely Constance wouldn’t allow it. You were glancing from one end of the hallway to the other.

“Sweetheart I think it’s time you head home.”

It was the most serious you had ever heard her sound. Normally Constance had a sugar coated way of speaking. None of the Southern charm she was known for was showing. You found yourself nodding before mumbling some sort of goodbye. Your legs barely carried you down the stairs. Michael was shouting your name and it was so hard to ignore.Quickly you snatched your purse and jacket by the door before heading outside.

The door slammed shut behind you and you felt like you could finally breathe.

Chapter Text

That night you barely slept a wink. All you could think about was what had happened in Michael’s bedroom. The look on his face when his hand had draped across your throat. You had tossed and turned while trying to stop your mind from racing. It was a next to impossible task.

You didn’t leave your house for the whole weekend.

Your phone was put on silent.

If there was a knock on the door you didn’t answer it.

The only person that you even spoke to was your father. He did his usual check in calls that he always did whenever he was gone. Sometimes you found it adorable but you weren’t in the mood to socialize. Instead you chose to mope around and mostly stay curled up in bed. You weren’t sure if you were relieved or disappointed that you didn’t hear from Michael. There was the thought in the back of your head that he might try to come over.

It didn’t happen.

You knew that you couldn’t avoid him forever even if that was what you wanted.

Monday you found yourself dreading walking into the hallowed halls of your school. You had been praying that you would be able to just make it through the day with no incidents. You had the hood of your sweatshirt pulled up to hide your hair and face. You barely looked up as you approached your locker. Thankfully none of your friends seemed to spot you when you brushed by them. Of course you knew that your luck wouldn’t last.

The first two periods went by without a hitch.

It was in your art class that things took a turn for the worse.

You were sitting in the middle with your easel poised in front of you. All the while doing your best to listen to what the teacher wanted from you. You weren’t exactly the most talented when it came to art. It was just something you figured you could do and it wouldn’t be that hard to pass. You were reaching to pick up the piece of charcoal and found yourself reaching to run it along the paper.

There was a knock on the glass that made your head turn. It was your friend Heather and she was grinning which only meant trouble. She was motioning towards you and then the door. You already knew that she wanted you to dip out. It was something that you only did once or twice. You didn’t exactly like the idea of getting into some sort of trouble. It took you a few moments before you decided to hell with it.

After your weekend you knew that you deserved some fun. Even if that fun meant skipping class. You reached to set the charcoal down and went to pick your bag up off the floor. Your art teacher was looking over one of your classmates work. It wasn’t the first time you were skipping out but you always worried at first. You knew you would need to come up with a good story to get you out of there.

Thankfully your art teacher was male.

There was always a sure fire way to get out of class with a male teacher.

You tugged on the hem of your top before putting a grimace on your face. One of your hands went to rest on your stomach before you approached. Quickly you cleared your throat which caused his head to turn. You hoped that the look on your face was a convincing one.
“Mr. Davis I’m having really bad cramps,” you said in a voice just above a whisper,” I think I need to see the nurse.”

An uneasy look appeared on his face at your words. He didn’t even say anything and merely waved you off. You quickly darted out of the room and walked around the corner. Heather was grinning from ear to ear by the time you reached her. All you did was shake your head at her. She was going to link arms with you and together the two of you headed out. You already knew where you two were going.

You were going to head to the parking lot to meet up with everyone else who was probably there. It would only be a few of you but that didn’t matter. The two of you were cutting through the quad which wasn’t completely empty. There were a few other scattered about. Some were studying, others were eating and a select few were smoking. Heather was chattering about how her latest crush, a boy named Jason had finally asked her out on Friday night. She was practically gushing about him and then talking about how she didn’t know what to wear.

By that point you were almost fully across when you heard someone shout your name.

The voice was like cold water being thrown on you.

It was a voice you had been dreading hearing.

You almost wanted to pretend you hadn’t heard it. Though Heather had stopped when you did and was looking behind the two of you. You knew already that she was going to be curious. Everyone knew about Michael and everyone knew he normally kept to himself. That made practically everyone curious about him. You used to be like everyone else but not any longer. Though no one actually knew that the two of you had hung out.

“Why is Michael calling for you?” she asked, clearly introduced which didn’t bode well for you,” Do you two like, talk or something?”

How could you even begin to explain?

“We live on the same street, we’ve talked.”

It was like you were moving in slow motion as you turned on your heel to face him. While she had been whispering he had been moving closer. You could see that he was confused by how you were behaving. Then again it was strange since you two hadn’t really interacted at school. The two of you had strictly been friends outside of it. That had never been a problem or concern up until that very moment.

“What's going on Michael?”

“Don’t you have class?”

He didn’t even glance at Heather who wasn’t even trying to hide the fact that she was staring. You reached with your free hand to push a strand of hair away from your face. You knew that you had no reason to be worried about what he thought of you skipping. It wasn’t like he was your boyfriend.

“I’m skipping.”

“Why?”

Why did he care? He was starting to get on your nerves. You were tempted to just ignore him and leave. Though Heather seemed to have other plans from the look in her eyes. She was clearing her throat which caused Michael’s gaze to flicker over to her. Instantly she was smiling, a smile that meant trouble.

“We are going to smoke up in the parking lot,” she explained, beaming,” Wanna join?”

You were screwed and not in a good way.

Michael seemed to be weighing his options. You could see the wheels turning in his head. His mouth curved into a smile that could make anyone melt. He was taking a step forward and you found yourself being turned around. Even the small touch caused your stomach to lurch. Heather was following suit and turning to keep walking as well. Her arm relinked with yours as Michael casually threw his arm over your shoulder.

You knew if you acted weird that she would think something was up. That was the sole reason you went to wrap your arm around his waist. You weren’t sure if you had butterflies or if you were stomach was in knots. Either way you felt on edge and it was all because of Michael. He was acting as if he almost hadn’t choked you in his bedroom when you stopped him from touching you the way he wanted.

He was still treating you like you were his.

You didn’t know what to do. No boy had ever treated you the way that Michael had. He was in a league all his own which you didn’t think was a good thing. You had no idea how to handle it. It wasn’t like you could go to your friends and your mother was long gone. You were stuck and it looked like you were out of options.

The three of you were soon in the student parking lot. All kinds of cars were there. Some were old and others looked brand new. Heather practically skipped away from you only to throw herself into Jason’s arms. It took you a moment to realize that it was just Jason waiting.

There was no one else.

Why did she drag you out for? You knew that Heather would be focused on Jason the entire time. You would have been a third wheel and nothing more. Of course you preferred the idea of that over having to spend time with Michael. He was like a thorn in your side. You were going to climb onto the hood of Jason’s car without asking if it was okay. Your bag was set on the pavement and you didn’t even look at Michael.

He was going to set his bag right beside yours before he was making himself comfortable next to you. Heather and Jason were by the trunk which meant that there was some distance between you. You found yourself wishing you had told Heather to fuck off and stayed in class.

“Are you mad at me?”

That question made your entire body tense up. Michael’s tone showed that he was hurt and confused. Though you had no idea why he was feeling hurt. Not after what he had pulled in his bedroom. Did he not realize that he had crossed a line that there was no coming back from? You almost wanted to keep your mouth shut but knew he wouldn’t accept that. Instead he would poke and prod until he got some kind of response from you.

You forced yourself to take a breath before clearing your throat,” After what happened in your room, I just-I don’t know if we should spend time together.”

It wasn’t overly harsh but you weren’t dancing around it either. You knew that you had to choose your words carefully since Heather was within hearing distance. She didn’t need to hear about how he had been on the verge of choking you. She didn’t need to hear about how his grandmother had stepped in. There would be so many questions that you just didn’t want to answer.

The look on Michael’s face was one of anguish. He was clearly shocked at your words which didn’t make sense. Did he not realize what he had done was wrong? You knew that Constance had to have taught him what was okay and what wasn’t. After all that was her job as his guardian. You were still fuzzy on what had happened to his birth parents. It wasn’t something you had been brave enough to ask him about.

“I didn’t hurt you did I?”

His voice was starting to shake which meant he was nervous. It was very easy to see that he was starting to get worked up. You knew that technically he hadn’t actually hurt you. There were no bruises formed on your skin which you had checked for. You were still worried that somehow something would appear on your skin.

You were shaking your head slowly.

“That isn’t the point Michael.”

His face was starting to contort into an expression you had only seen once or twice. He was becoming upset and at a rather alarming rate. He was actually daring to move closer to you. You had to stop yourself from pulling back from him. You also had to pray that Heather and Jason were too wrapped up in each other to notice. You really didn’t need anyone to see or hear what was going on.

“I’m sor-sorry if I scared you,” he choked out,” I didn’t-I didn’t mean to!”

Big, fat tears were leaking from the corners of his eyes. His hands were actually trembling as he reached to grasp at your face. You knew that you needed to do something to calm him down. Though his touch was causing your heart to pound. It felt like it was going to possibly burst from your chest.

“But you did,” you whispered, reaching to try to pull his hands from you,” You did something wrong and there are consequences.”

He was shaking his head so violently as if your words were hurting him. He couldn’t seem to process that you were telling him he had done something bad. That you weren’t going to allow him to get away with it. You knew that he was used to getting his way. It was something Constance had allowed because she feared him. She had never outright said it but you were able to tell. There was something extremely off about their entire relationship.

You used to think that she cherished him but you saw behind the facade. It was likely you were the only one who did. Michael was shifting till you felt one of his legs brush against your own. His hands slid from your face only to slide down to grasp at your middle. You barely had time to think before he was yanking you right onto your lap. So many red flags were going up but you felt powerless.

He was taking control.

Shy, innocent Michael was manhandling you. You felt like a puppet as he pulled you against him. His arms were circling around you so tightly. You were relieved that Heather and Jason were too busy being wrapped up in each other. You could actually hear their lips smacking. Though you knew already that she likely would move on to someone new within a week. That was just who Heather was.

“I just want to take care of you,” he pleaded through his sobs, burying his face in your neck,” I know your alone like me! Your dad treats you like you are nothing!”

You tried not to groan since you knew he didn’t like how you were left alone. It was something you were used to and it didn’t bug you. Apparently it bugged him which you hadn’t realized. It was just how you had grown up. What more was there to say about it? You knew how to take care of yourself and that was a good thing. It was a way you were prepared for when you were out in the real world and no longer under your father’s roof.

“He has to work,” you protested,” It’s just how things are.”

“It’s not how they should be!”

Before you could try to think of what to say you heard Heather call your name. Your head turned to see that she was holding out a lit joint. It would be odd if you didn’t take it but it was the last thing you wanted to do. You shook your head which made her roll her eyes. Though she was also looking at how you were in Michael’s lap. There were going to be questions later, it was clear from the look on her face.

You were unsure as you reached to wrap your arms around Michael. His entire body was shaking with the force of his sobs. His hold on you was extremely tight. It was almost too much but you tried to ignore it. Instead you opted to cling to him in an almost simimlar fashion.

“It’s okay,” you choked out,” I’m fine, you’re fine, we’re okay Michael.”

“Let me take care of you,” he begged, still not pulling his head up,” Please let me take care of you, please, please.”

Despite your anger you could feel your resolve weakening. Maybe it was because of how he was clearly upset. Or it could be how he looked so incredibly worried. He was so good at getting people to feel for him. You knew that was how he had gotten away with so much with his grandmother.

“Okay, you can take care of me.”

You had no idea what you were doing.

Chapter Text

Michael seemed to have his own idea on how to take care of you.

Every single morning he was standing outside of your door to walk you to school. He would walk you to and from every single one of your classes. Your friends were all confused as to the sudden attachment. You had been forced to distance yourself from them. It seemed like the safest option with everything that had been going on. The very last thing that you wanted was to raise some sort of suspicion. Things were complex enough without adding anything more to the mix. At the end of every day Michael was at your locker to walk you home.

On the weekends he was always hanging around your house.

It was just an immense relief that your father and him had never crossed paths.

Michael had made no secret of his disdain for the man who was supposed to be taking care of you. He couldn’t seem to wrap his mind around the fact that you took care of yourself. You knew that Constance was confused by the change in her grandson. She had made no secret of it the few times that you had gone to their home. The looks she sent your way made you that much more uneasy. Michael told you to ignore her which was likely easier said than done.

You were just doing your best to navigate the path that had been set before you.

It was by some miracle that you were keeping up with your school work. You really didn’t need to end up failing any of your classes. You had dreams of leaving LA to attend some school far away. Though you had not once mentioned that to anyone. It just seemed like something that should be kept private. There was so much going on that it almost made your head hurt.

Friday after school Michael was walking through your front door right after you. Clover was rushing towards the two of you, her tag wagging eagerly. A smile crept on your face at the sight of her. You were going to grab her by the collar to lead her towards the back door. You tried to avoid letting her go out front in case she chose to run out to the street. The last thing that you wanted was to have her get hit by a car.

Michael was going to take both your bag and his bag into your bedroom. He had made himself comfortable in your home rather quickly. You pushed open the back door and she went running out into the yard. Instantly barking and chasing after some birds who took off. The door swung shut the moment that you let it go. You knew that she would come up to the door when she wanted to be let in.

You turned only to come face to face with Michael.

“What are we doing tonight?”

The question threw you for a loop.

You hadn’t been sure if he planned on sticking around. A very small part of you hoped that he wouldn’t. You had been invited to a party that night. It was taking place at a friend of a friend’s house. One thing that you knew for sure was Michael had never been invited to any party. You would have seen him if he had been. He did tend to stick out no matter where he was.

“Um,” you paused,” I was going to go to a party tonight, I thought you might just go back home.”

His eyes visibly darkened and the smile disappeared.

“Do you not want me to come?”

You realized your mistake very quickly.

“I thought parties weren’t your thing.”

His eyebrows furrowed but he didn’t say a word. That only served to make butterflies form in the very pit of your belly. No one was able to make you feel nervous the way that he was able to. He didn’t even seem to realize that he was doing it. It still baffled you how innocent and clueless he seemed to be. It was something that you didn’t think you would ever be able to understand.

“Would Constance be okay with you going?”

The words were out of your mouth before you could stop them. You just wanted to avoid making him mad if you were able to. He was already a handful without the temper tantrums. There was a small part of you that was hoping she had some sort of rule against it.

“She told me I could hang out with you tonight.”

Was that his way of saying yes or that it didn’t matter what she thought? It was hard for you to figure out his relationship with Constance. You just knew that there was more than what meets the eye. It was something that was obvious to you from the moment you started to spend time in their home. After all the two of them seemed like oil and water. Yet Constance seemed to have a need to take care of him, to make him better.

You had the feeling she didn’t realize she was failing.

The sound of barking interrupted your thoughts. Quickly you were going to let Clover back in and she was high tailing it towards the kitchen. There was the sound of her lapping up water and then chomping on some of her food. You looked back towards Michael who seemed to be waiting for what you would say next.

“Well I’m going to shower,” you told him slowly,” I need to get ready and I’m going to have to check in with my dad so how about you come back around eight thirty to pick me up?”

He almost looked like he wanted to protest. He probably didn’t want to leave you. He seemed to feel the need to constantly be with you which you didn’t understand. He nodded but was going towards your kitchen. You thought he would go to grab his backpack and leave.

“Michael,” you called out,” What are you doing?”

“We are going to have dinner before you get ready.”

You should have known better. A sigh came from you before you walked into the kitchen after him. He was already at the fridge by the time you reached it. Your head tilted as you watched him move some things around.

“I can warm up some leftover spaghetti,” you suggested,” We might even have some garlic bread left over.”

He was pulling out the container that held the leftovers. You reached for it as he went to move to grab two plates as well as silverware. A sigh came from you as you went to place a good amount on each plate. After heating them up the both of you were sitting at the kitchen table. No words were spoken as the both of you began to eat. All the while Clover made herself comfortable right at your feet.

“So who is having this party?”

You forced yourself to swallow the food in your mouth before looking up at him.

“I think that Tony might be throwing it.”

“Tony?”

He sometimes amazed you with how little he knew of your classmates.

“He’s friend’s with Jason, plays football I think.”

Michael did nothing to hide his disdain at the mention of the sport. You had come to learn quickly how he didn’t like the jocks or the cheerleaders. You tried to avoid picking a side with such things. Ever since you could remember you were just happy to get along with everyone. There was no possible way to avoid cliques but you liked to consider yourself to be a bit of a floater.

“And why do you want to go to this party?”

Sometimes it was strange to you the questions he asked.

“I figured it could be fun, a way to let off some steam.”

His nose wrinkled slightly but he didn’t say anything more. Once dinner was over you went to put the plates in the dishwasher. Michael got his things before promising he would be back. After that you were left alone and you allowed yourself to breathe. There was a quick call with your dad who told you his trip had gotten extended. You had the feeling it would but it wasn’t a big deal. He told you that he sent you some money so that you could buy groceries.

After that you were heading for the shower. You took your time since you felt like you needed a breather. It was so utterly overwhelming to you how much your life has changed. It was all because of Michael and how Constance seemed to be pushing him at you. It was something that you wish had never happened. Why did he feel the need to be so close? Why did he want to take care of you?

You weren’t even sure if you would consider him a friend.

Though you certainly did not consider him to be your boyfriend.

You finished up the shower and knew that you needed to get moving. One thing you wanted to avoid was making Michael wait. Plus it would mean avoiding him possibly making some offhand comment on whatever outfit you landed on. You did stand in front of your rather messy closet for at least fifteen minutes. Once in a while you would pull out something only to shove it back on the rack.

That evening you chose to wear a plain white cropped t-shirt. That was paired with a pair of black overalls that had shorts. You chose to leave one of the straps undone to show off the t-shirt beneath. It was something different than what you usually wore. You just felt like showing yourself off a bit. Plus you just wanted to feel like your old self if that was at all possible.

After brushing your hair you swept it up into what you hoped looked like an effortless, messy bun. Instead of using a ton of makeup, you put on some eye liner, mascara and a light amount of blush. You chose some lighter pink shimmering lip gloss that you had only recently purchased. You were just pulling on your black low top converse when there was a knock on your door.

That was better than him just trying to walk in.

You quickly finished tying them before going to answer it. To your surprise he wasn’t wearing the stuff that he usually did. Stuff that you had the feeling Constance picked out for him. He was wearing a plain black t-shirt and a pair of jeans. His feet were decorated by a pair of doc martens. You had never even seen the doc martens before but you didn’t comment on it.

Instead you were focused on the fact that he was staring at you with narrowed eyes.

You were almost waiting to see what sort of comment he was going to give you.

It was a shock that he didn’t say anything at all. Instead he merely extended his hand out for you to take. You gave one last glance to Clover before going to place your hand in his. After that the two of you were heading to your car. When your dad was gone for long periods of time that meant you got the car. He would use a service to go to the airport and then to get back home.

You never asked Michael to drive since you doubted he had even gotten his permit.

He was fiddling with the radio as you pulled out onto the street. You were tapping your steering wheel as you pulled out onto the street. You were passing Michael’s house and noticed Constance was standing out on the front porch. She was watching as the two of you passed by. Michael was too busy with the radio to even look up but you couldn’t avoid staring at her in surprise.

The expression on her face was one you had never seen before.

It looked like she was trying to give you some nonverbal warning.

The party was in full swing by the time that you arrived. You had to park a little further down the street due to the amount of cars. You were just hoping that no one would call the cops. Michael was right at your side the moment you climbed from the car. His hand was automatically reaching for yours. You didn’t even bother trying to pull away from him. Together the two of you headed towards the house.

Some people were hanging out outside and there was already a decent pile of garbage littering the yard. You both had to push your way through to get inside. You realized very quickly that a decent amount of people from your class were there. More than a few of them were staring the second that you walked in. Michael’s hold on your hand tightened, on the verge of becoming painful.

Already you knew that it was a bad idea.

You wanted a drink and a strong one.

Michael kept a hold of your hand as you headed towards the kitchen. The smell of liquor mixed with sweat, sex and smoke. It didn’t make the most wonderful combination. You were relieved to see that they had quite a few options. Instantly letting go of Michael to grab a bottle of jack daniels. You were moving to the beat of the song somewhat as you got yourself a jack and coke.

“Are you sure you should drink?” whispered Michael into your ear, his hands coming to your waist,” Remember how I found you that one time?”

It was a bit hard for you to forget since he had literally put you to bed that night.

“One drink won’t hurt,” you told him,” Besides, what’s the harm? We’re here to have fun!”

Fun was something that was in short supply lately.

It turned out that you were right that one drink wouldn’t hurt.

The other three you consumed in rapid succession, however, were another story.

You had managed to find some of your friends. All of you were dancing in the living room. Someone had shoved the couches against the walls to make room. You were giggling as you were twirled by Heather. Michael had disappeared earlier but you had no idea where he was. For the moment you were refusing to worry since you were finally feeling a bit like your old self.

It didn’t matter to you that you were drunk, sweaty and that you had likely sweat some of your makeup off. All that mattered was that you were enjoying yourself.

“Dude! What the fuck?”

There was an abrupt crash and Tony was on the floor. His drink was now practically all over his once pristine white t-shirt. The whole room went silent and you looked to see who had shoved him. Your eyes widened in shock when you saw Michael stepped into the room from the hallway.

“You shouldn’t have said what you did!” he hissed, his hands balling into fists,” You don’t have the right to talk about her like that!”

Everyone was instantly looking at you. The whole class knew that the two of you were somehow involved. Most people probably thought that you were friends. Maybe it was the alcohol but you were stumbling and pushing through the hordes.

“Micheal!” you called out, nearly tripping as you moved towards him,” What’s going on?”

Every single word was slurred. His attention turned to you and the disappointment was obvious. His anger was forgotten as you nearly fell into him. His hands reaching to grasp at your waist to keep you steady. Tony was still on the floor and staring at the two of you.

“He’s a fucking freak!”

You were grasping at Michael’s shoulders and trying to see straight.

“Michael,” you whispered,” What happened?”

He was glaring down at Tony with a look you had seen maybe once before. His eyes had narrowed and he wasn’t even looking at you. A cry of pain escaped from Tony out of nowhere. His hands shooting up as blood began to spurt from his nose and mouth.

Instantly everyone was rushing towards him.

You were going to shove Michael towards the front hall, unthinking. Your feet felt like they were weighed down as you did. He was grasping at you to keep you steady as you both headed out the front door. Someone was yelling to call for help. You knew that you needed to get Michael out of there. Part of you was unsure about what had happened but you knew you had to get him out.

“We-We gotta go,” you choked out, nausea hitting you full force.

The two of you had made it to the sidewalk before you doubled over. Bile traveled up your throat and you couldn’t even try to hold it in. One of Michael’s hands reached to push your hair from your face. The other was grasping at your waist to keep you from falling forward.

“Can-Can you drive?” you asked after you were certain that you were done,” I can’t-I can’t drive.”

He just held his hand out to take your keys. You handed them over before leaning into him. It took him a moment but he was going to scoop you up. Quickly you squeezed your eyes shut since you didn’t want to make the nausea worse. Though you were certain that there was nothing left for you to puke up.

“I’m taking you home.”

Chapter Text

You had no idea how long you had been crouched over the toilet. There was no possible way that there could be anything left in your system for you to throw up. At least that was what you liked to think. You had practically raced to the bathroom when you and Michael had gotten back to your house. You could not remember the last time that you had ever felt so miserable. It was not a surprise when you felt Michael’s hand on your back, moving in soothing circles. His other hand had reached to hold any stray strands of hair away from your face.

The drive to your house from the party was nothing more than a blur. You honestly had no idea how the two of you had managed to get home safely. Michael had been utterly focused the entire time. Both of you were on edge due to whatever had happened at the party. You knew that Tony had obviously said something that had offended Michael. Of course you were still unsure what exactly had set him off. That was something that you wanted to find out even if you were in no condition to be questioning Michael.

After what felt like an eternity you finally felt like you were done. Your body slumped as you allowed yourself to fall back. Your back came into contact with something soft. It took you a few moments to realize that Michael was right behind you. You had basically landed on his lap without even realizing it. His arms looped around your middle in order to keep you steady. His chin came to rest against one of your shoulders.

“Are you alright?” he whispered, his breath tickling your skin,” I’ve never seen you like this.”

You really hadn’t thought that you had that much to drink. Then again your drinking had slowed down ever since Michael had wormed his way into your life. You couldn’t bring yourself to even form words and merely whimpered in response. He seemed to just be relieved that you weren’t passed out in his grasp. Instead you were just trying to regain control of your breathing. At that moment all that you wanted to do was get into your bed and pass out. If you were asleep then you wouldn’t be feeling as miserable as you were.

Of course you also knew that you should probably drink some water and quite possibly have something greasy to eat. Even if the idea of eating anything made your stomach lurch. You found yourself turning to face Michael, your entire body shifting. Your legs straddled his and your arms looped around his neck. If you were sober you wouldn’t dare be doing what you were. After all you had been trying to keep some sort of healthy distance between the two of you. Even if Michael had been doing the exact opposite of that.

His entire body was tense against yours but he wasn’t pushing you away. Instead he was going to wrap you up in his hold instead. One of his hands was cradling the back of your head and pressing your face into his neck. You allowed it, your eyes drifting shut as you took deep breaths. Part of you wanted to just stay right there. All you wanted to do was fall asleep right there in his arms. If he wasn’t there you likely would have just fallen asleep on the cool bathroom tile.

It was doubtful that he was going to allow you to do either of those.

“Do you think you can get up?”

You could only shake your head since you didn’t want to speak. The last thing that you wanted to do was say something embarrassing. Even if you were pretty far gone, you weren’t totally gone. He didn’t say anything in response but he did begin to move. Instead he was pushing himself away from the wall but kept his hold on you. You groaned as you found yourself being lifted up.

Due to the position you had been in, your legs went around him. You were shocked that he was actually lifting you up and able to hold you. All you could do was keep your eyes closed as he began to walk. Thankfully the distance between your room and the bathroom wasn’t insane. He was setting you on your bed and going towards your dresser. You merely were going to try to kick off your shoes. Your fingers shaking as you managed to do so and then reached to pull the elastic from your hair. The band fell to the floor right by your shoes. By that point Michael had managed to dig out a tank top and a pair of plaid pajama shorts for you.

He was setting them down before reaching to undo your overalls. After that he was motioning for you to hold your arms up above your head. You merely made a face before complying and allowing your arms to stretch up. He was going to pull the t-shirt up and off you. The straps of the overalls dropped to your legs as he went to pull the tank top onto your head. He even helped you slip your arms into the straps. You fell back as his hands turned to the overalls once more.

You didn’t even protest as he began to tug them down your legs. That left you in the tank top and the plain purple underwear you had on. If you were sober you surely would have been blushing. Instead you were just trying your best to not doze off completely. He slid your feet into the pajama shorts and began to pull them up your legs. To your surprise he was actually going to lift your hips up to get them all the way up. The whole time the look on his face was almost passive.

He was going to coax you further up towards the headboard. After that the blankets were being drawn over you and he was sitting at the edge of it. His hands were reaching to wipe the hair away from your eyes as you tried to get settled. The nausea finally seemed to be dying down a bit. All you wanted was sleep and you knew it wouldn’t take long to come.

“I’m going to stay with you,” he told you, not even knowing if you could understand him,” I’m going to get you some water and then I’ll be back, I also got to let Clover back in.”

He had let her out?

You had no idea that he had even done that but then again you hadn’t been focused on anything besides reaching the bathroom. You slowly nodded and watched as he disappeared out of your room. It took you a few moments to roll onto your side and curl up like you always did. Your eyes closed but you could hear the sound of the back door opening. Moments later Clover was bounding into your room and jumping up onto the foot of the bed. There was also the sound of a cupboard opening and then a faucet running.

That was followed by footsteps and soon Michael was going to shut the door to your room. He was setting a glass of water on your nightstand before crawling in beside you. His lanky frame actually curled around yours, his arm secure around your middle.

“Get some rest,” he whispered to you, pressing a kiss to the side of your head,” I’ll be here in the morning.”

A groan fell from you the moment that you deigned to open your eyes. It took a few moments for you to register that you were thankfully in your own bed. Even if you felt like you had been run over by a semi truck. You were groaning as you rolled over only to collide right into something solid. Your gaze lifted only to see Michael beside you and he was staring right down at you. There was a look of concern plastered on his angelic face. He was reaching to smooth back some of your hair from your face.

“How are you feeling?” he asked, nice enough to whisper thankfully,” Are you alright?”

You were shaking your head since you didn’t see the point in being dishonest. Your head was pounding and already you could feel your stomach swirling. You knew that you were destined for a day in bed and you knew it. Though you knew that it was likely you wouldn’t be alone.

“I’m gon-gonna puke,” you choked out, clapping your hand over your mouth.

He was up in an instant and rushing to get the small trash can. You were leaning over the bed and thankfully he managed to get it in place. You groaned as bile traveled up your throat and you allowed it all to come out. Of course you had no idea how you still had anything in your system to throw up. Michael was waiting patiently for you to finish before he was setting it aside. After that he was going to help you back into bed.

“Stay put,” he told you before he was going to take the bag out of the small trash can,” I’ll get you some toast.”

You made a face even at the mere mention of food but nodded. You normally would have fought him on it. Part of you was wondering if Constance was freaking out. After all you knew how tight of a leash she had on her grandson. Even though you also knew that he was making sure that leash loosened. He had been doing it little by little ever since he had decided to be a part of your life. You had no idea what it was that he was doing given that he was still an enigma.

You were more than happy to tug your comforter right over your head. Your face pressed against the pillow as you tried to take a few deep breaths. You were on the verge of dozing off up until you heard footsteps and felt the mattress dip. The comforter was being tugged down and a small plate holding toast was shoved in your face. Your nose crinkled but you were reaching for it anyway.

You didn’t say a word as you took a few bites. Michael’s smile actually seemed to grow with every single bite that you took. He had yet to move and you had the feeling he wouldn’t. You forced yourself to finish half of a piece before setting the plate on your nightstand.

“Michael,” you breathed,” Can we talk about last night?”

His expression instantly changed, his smile turning into a slight grimace.

“What about last night?”

Was he seriously going to play dumb? You forced yourself to sit up a bit even if you just wanted to lay down. Your hands clasped in your lap and you stared at him intently.

“What happened with Tony,” you explained,” I don’t get why you shoved him and what happened after, it doesn’t make sense, I mean I know I was drunk but his nose was bleeding and you didn’t touch him.”

You still felt like it had been something akin to a horror movie.

Michael was going to slide to sit beside you. He was going to pull the comforter over his legs and he was going to actually rest his head on your shoulder. You had decided to give up on boundaries when it came down to him. He was staring down at his fingers, fiddling your blankets.

“He said that he wanted a turn with you once I was finished and he called you a sl-slut.”

His face nearly turned pink after he got that word out. Sometimes how innocent he could seem honestly threw you for a loop.

“So you pushed him because he was being a jerk and insulting me?”

He nodded dumbly but didn’t speak. Instead he was reaching for the remote to the small TV you had in your room. He was turning on the TV and flipping through the channels. You rolled your eyes but allowed your head to rest against his own.

Something was going on with him but you didn’t know what. Instead of pushing you opted to just relax since you knew you needed rest. It was no surprise when you ended up falling asleep only an hour or so later. Michael remained awake and was fine watching a movie. From time to time he would glance down at you just to make sure that you were okay.

You were snapped out of your slumber by the sound of rapid knocking. Your body jolted as you instantly popped up at the noise. Michael was already on the verge of getting up with a look of annoyance in his eyes. You scrambled to get to your feet and beat him to the door.

“Michael! Hold on! Who is it?”

You thankfully slid past him and made a beeline for the door. Clover was already rushing towards it, barking like mad. Quickly you shoved her aside only to try to peer through the peephole. To your amazement it was actually Constance. She looked less then put together, a few hairs out of place. There was a look of panic in her eyes and a lit cigarette dangling from her hand.

“Michael! Michael Langdon! You open this door for me right now! What have you done to her?”

Your body was on autopilot as you quickly unlocked and opened the door. Her eyes grew wide when they landed on you. She actually seemed relieved to see you. While you were rather confused given the fact that she had been asking what Michael had done to you. You could feel him behind you but he had yet to utter a word. Instead he was staring at his grandmother who stared right back.

“Constance,” you greeted,” I’m sorry, Michael and I went to a party and I got a little out of hand, he was nice enough to take care of me in my time of need.”

Why you felt the need to explain was beyond you. By that point Michael was right behind you and his hand was on the door above your head.

“I’ll be home later.”

Constance was reaching to grab you by the hand and tugged you forward.

“I never gave him permission to go out with you last night.”

“Grandma,” he stated, his tone firm,” I didn’t need your permission, we’re fine, I’m safe and I will be home later tonight.”

Constance was staring at you and ignoring everything that he said. You could tell that there was something going on in her head but you knew she wouldn’t say anything. You were reaching to slowly remove her hand from your wrist and took a deep breath.

“I’m just-I’m going to go shower, he’ll be home soon.”

Michael was the one to shut the door before you could. You were turning to face him, your back pressed against the wood. You were truly growing even more confused with every passing moment. It was a shock to you that Constance had shown up, seemingly angry about her grandson being out late. It didn’t make sense given that she had been asking what he had done with you.

Why would she ask that?

What was she hiding?