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on the hood of a car

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"That was pretty badass, you know?"

Michael turned his head to see Alex staring up at the stars. They were laying on the hood of the Evans' car Michael had hotwired for them all to go to a concert in Albuquerque that night. They'd had their fun and no adult suspected a thing. Max and Isobel were in bed, Liz and Maria had gone home, and now it was just them. Soon, Alex would jump the fence to go back to his house and Michael would retire to the basement the Evans' had lovingly let him live in.

But for now it was just them and the stars.

"What was badass?" Michael asked softly. Alex turned his head, a sultry little smirk on his lips and something daring in his dark-lined eyes. The chain that hung on his hip clattered against the hood as he bent his knee.

"Hotwiring and stealing a car," Alex pointed out, "Pretty sexy."

Michael shrugged, trying to not be too obvious about how much he loved the praise. And he loved it. He'd moved in with the Evans' six months ago and ever since then, he'd been lovingly welcomed into the little friend group that pre-existed when he’d just been a sad little orphan boy on the street with straight As. Now he had friends, a family, a home. Hell, he even had a love interest. Quite the rom-com set up if you asked him.

The biggest problem was that he had no idea how to voice that to Alex. He couldn’t come out because he didn’t know what to come out as. He couldn’t just scream ‘I LIKE BOYS TOO’ because that would be embarrassing. He couldn’t just kiss Alex because he had no fucking idea if Alex was even into guys, much less him specifically. He had no idea about anything in the world other than the fact that Alex made his heart beat harder than it should and that his smile made Michael want to sacrifice anything to keep it.

“Well, you went out of your way to make sure we all got tickets,” Michael pointed out, “It’s the least I could do.”

Alex stared at him for a moment before he shook his head, turning his face back to the stars. He closed his eyes.

Michael knew it would be so, so easy to just reach over and kiss him, to say ‘hey, I like you, do you like me?’, but that was too easy. Nothing was ever that easy for Michael. 

“Still, I had fun with you tonight,” Michael said instead. Alex smiled and took in a deep, slow breath.

“Me too.” 

Micahel thought about leaning in again. He almost did it too when Alex just abruptly sat up.

“Alright, I should get home, school tomorrow,” he said, sliding off the hood. Micahel watched him intently and tried not feel sad about watching him go. What did he expect?  “Night, Guerin.”

“Night, Manes.”

Michael watched as he headed towards the fence before he rested his head back and closed his eyes. Maybe he could pretend for just a minute more that maybe he could have something as nice as Alex Manes.

And then he was being kissed.

Michael’s eyes popped open despite the fact that he was still being kissed, getting an eye full of black hair. Alex Manes’ hair.

Alex pulled away and gave a sweet little smile despite how hard he tried to be punk at all times. Michael’s mind was completely empty and he slowly sat up.

“What was that?” Michael asked. Alex’s smile faltered, but he tried to act like it didn’t bother him. 

“A kiss.”

“Why?” 

“Because I wanted to,” Alex said, now not even trying to smile. He was taking it as rejection. Michael’s eyes widened and he scrambled so quickly to look casual that he almost fell off the hood.

“Wait, gay!” Michael announced in the middle of almost falling off the hood. Alex was back to his grinning self.

“Oh yeah?” Alex chuckled, “What about it?”

Michael stared at Alex with wide eyes. He wanted that again. He wanted more than that. How much more of that was he allowed to have? 

“Me,” Michael fumbled, shaking his head, “Kinda. Or something. I like you. Like that. Like, in a gay way.”

It became all too apparent to Michael that everything he’d just done had ruined any cool or hot praise he’d gotten from Alex. It was very short-lived. Well, it was fun while it lasted.

“Me too,” Alex said, nodding his head. Michael just stared at him for a moment, waiting. Waiting and being super careful not to fuck up even more. 

Alex huffed a little laugh and moved in again, long and delicate fingers gliding over Michael’s jaw. This kiss was better if only because now Michael was prepared. He melted into it, taking everything he could and tugging Alex in as close as he could. All he knew about life was that nothing stayed as long as you wanted it to. He was going to take all he could get from Alex while he could.

Alex pulled away before Michael was ready to let go.

His nose bumped Michael’s in a way that felt intentional, resting his forehead on his as he held his face. Alex was beautiful even when he was so close that there were two of him.

“Stay?” Micahel whispered pathetically. He might as well. Alex smiled and gave him one last kiss before he let go completely and started backing towards the fence.

“Next time,” Alex said. Hope fluttered in Michael’s chest. It was a feeling he’d forgotten.

“There’ll be a next time?” Michael asked. 

Alex simply smiled before he hopped the fence and it felt like a promise.