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December 31, 2014, 11:50 PM

Another year, another New Year's Eve party. Michael stood in the kitchen, waiting for the impending text that always came to his phone right about this time. There were ten minutes until the new year, and he knew what his resolution was.

From: Ash

alrighty boys its about that time !!

From: Lucas

where r we meeting?

From Cally:

hold on im in the bathroom!!!!

wait for me!!!!!!!!!!

To: Lucas, Ash, Cally

meet in the kitchen, im there rn

From: Lucas

ashton do u have all the stuff we need

From: Ash

yup!

meet in the kitchen asap

To: Lucas, Ash, Cally

cal finish pissing and get ur ass down here

Michael was startled by arms wrapping around his waist from behind in a hug. He gasped, putting down his phone and turning around slightly.

"Did I scare you?"

Michael's breath caught in his throat once again, for a completely different reason this time. 

"You, scary? You couldn't be scary if you tried, Luke."

The blond boy unwrapped himself from around the other, and Michael tried not to deflate so much at the loss of contact. A smile returned to his face when Luke moved to stand in front of him, a small pout on his face.

"I can be scary."

"No, you really can't."

"Maybe my resolution will be to be scarier, this year." Luke grinned, a light laugh slipping through his teeth.

"You're not supposed to tell your resolution, Luke!" Michael laughed, hitting his chest lightly. 

Luke rolled his eyes. "I know, I know. We've been doing this every year since we were fifteen, I know the drill."

"So, do you know what yours is going to be?"

Luke shrugged, a smile playing on his lips. "Maybe."

They fell into a comfortable silence, and Michael let his eyes drift to Luke's lips, his heart beating slightly faster at the sight of Luke now biting at the bottom one. He thought about his resolution, and his palms began to sweat. Would he really be able to do it? He had no idea. 

Michael was pulled from his thoughts as Ashton came bounding into the kitchen, pulling Calum behind him.

"Okay, boys! I hope you have your resolutions ready because we have three minutes to midnight and we need to get them down before then." 

Ashton pulled out the small wooden box with the word resolutions written on it that they had been using since they began this tradition. In fact, the whole tradition essentially started because of that box. Ashton bought it at a little knickknack shop on their first New Year's Eve as a band, and decided that they needed a tradition. So now, every New Year's Eve, no matter where they are, the four boys meet a few minutes before midnight and write their resolutions; no one is allowed to know each other's resolutions, they just put them into the box and switch them out the next New Year's Eve. But, when one of them completes his resolution, he can tell the rest of the boys what it was.

Michael took the pen and the small piece of paper that Ashton handed to him, turning to put them on the counter so that he could write on a flat surface. His hands were shaking slightly, his palms sweaty as he picked up the pen. He glanced around him, making sure no one could see what he was about to write. This had to remain a secret until he fulfilled it.

"One minute until midnight, guys. Write your resolutions."

Michael took a deep breath and pressed his pen to the paper. No going back now.

"Ten!"

Michael wrote slowly, deliberately, trying to block out the sound of the countdown around him.

"Nine!"

The first few words were down, he couldn't stop now.

"Eight!"

But his hands were shaking and the words were starting to get less legible.

"Seven!"

He needed to focus. 

"Six!"

He focused back on the task at hand, biting his lip.

"Five!"

He had to put care into each letter, make sure they came out how he wanted.

"Four!"

He knew he was being ridiculous, but this was the most monumental resolution he had ever made.

"Three!"

He wrote the last letter, adding a period to the end. He couldn't breathe.

"Two!"

He quickly folded it up, putting it into the box along with the others. But, even without it in front of him, the words he had written were now engraved into his mind.

"One! Happy New Year!"

This year I will tell Luke I am in love with him.

 

December 31, 2015, 11:30 PM

Another year, another New Year's Eve party. Michael was sitting on a couch in the living room of someone he forgot the name of, talking to a couple friends.

"Do you guys make New Year's resolutions?" Josh asked suddenly, and Michael's breath caught in his throat.

"Sometimes, but I never really follow through," Alex commented with a laugh.

"What about you, Mike?"

Michael nodded numbly, trying to keep the panic off his face. "Yeah, uh, the boys and I make them every year. Kind of our thing."

"So did you fulfill yours this year?"

Michael shrugged, gnawing on his bottom lip. "Uh, no. Not yet."

Josh laughed, shaking his head. "Well, there's only about a half hour until midnight, you might want to get on that."

Michael managed a weak laugh, nodding along. "Yeah, guess so. Will you guys excuse me?"

He didn't wait for a response before getting up and rushing to the nearest bathroom. He locked the door behind him and stood in front of the mirror, splashing cold water on his face. The whole year had passed, and Michael still hadn't told Luke how he felt. 

He didn't know how to go about it, what he would say. Plus, there was essentially no chance that Luke felt the same way, so there was also the humiliation factor. And the factor of losing his best friend because of his stupid feelings.

He should have never made this resolution. He knew it was the only way he could make himself admit his feelings to Luke, that was why he had done it. In the years that they had been making their resolutions, none of them had backed down on theirs. They tried to make them substantial but realistic, so that it would be a challenge, but they had to complete it. Michael couldn't be the one to back down, especially with a resolution as important as this.

He had been waiting years to tell Luke how he felt, just holding it inside, and he felt like he might explode. He needed to come clean. But telling Luke was like hurling himself off a cliff, and hoping that the blond boy would be standing underneath with his arms stretched open, ready to catch him. There was the chance that he would just end up free falling, and hitting the ground hard at the bottom.

Michael breathed deeply for a minute, and then checked the time. It was 11:45. He had fifteen minutes to tell Luke.

He allowed himself one more moment of holding the secret inside, and then stepped out into the party. 

Pulling out his phone, Michael opened up his texts to Luke. He took a deep breath, watching his hands shake, and composed a new message.

To: Lucas

meet me on the front porch asap

its important

Without waiting for a reply, Michael rushed out to the porch, the fresh air hitting his face and calming him slightly. He could still hear his heartbeat in his ears.

"Michael?"

The red haired boy spun around, his breath catching at the sight of Luke standing in the doorway, light from the party pouring out behind him. He looked so beautiful, and Michael took a moment to absorb every detail. He wasn't sure if this would be the last time he could openly look at his best friend without the blond being disgusted by him.

"Hi."

"Are you alright? Did something happen?"

Michael shook his head slightly, laughing silently at the concern laced in Luke's voice. He really was the sweetest person Michael had the honor to have in his life.

"I'm fine, nothing happened. I just, uh, need to talk to you."

"Alright. Can it wait until after midnight? We need to do our resolutions soon."

Michael shook his head frantically. "No, it can't wait. I have to do it now. I have to-"

"Hey, hey. It's okay. Talk to me, I'm here." Luke took on of Michael's hands in his, threading their fingers together and squeezing. Michael fought back the tears that threatened to well up in his eyes.

"I don't know how to say this. I don't know how to do this without making you hate me, without driving you away. I can't lose you, Luke, I just can't."

"Shh, Mikey. You could never lose me, I'm not going anywhere. Nothing you could say could make me leave."

Michael squeezed his eyes shut briefly, willing his tears away, unsuccessfully. "Except this."

"Whatever it is, Michael, you can tell me. You can tell me anything."

The older boy let his eyes drop to the floor, squeezing Luke's hand one more time, because he wasn't sure he would ever be able to again. And then he opened his heart.

"I love you. I-I'm in love with you. I've been in love with you for years, maybe since we met. I never knew how to tell you, I never wanted to screw things up between us, because you are the most important person in my life. I love Cal and Ash, like brothers, but it's you, Luke. You are the one person I could not live without. It's you, it has always been you, and it will always be you. I-I know you probably hate me now, you're probably disgusted by me, but I just-it's you. It's you, Luke."

Michael felt Luke's reaction before he saw or heard it. He felt it when Luke dropped his hand, when their fingers slipped away from each other, when their connection broke. 

And just like that, he was crying.

They weren't quiet little teardrops, there was nothing beautiful or subtle about the way Michael began to cry. They were sobs, heavy and loud and making him unable to breathe right. They were desperate, mixed in with apologies and pleas for Luke to forget he said anything at all. They were full of pain and regret and Michael could not breathe.

"L-Luke. Please, pl-please don't go! Please just f-forget it! I c-can't lose y-you. Please! I'm s-so sorry! I'm so s-sorry."

When he received no response from the boy standing in front of him, Michael let his legs give out, curling in on himself on the grass. He had fucked up everything and there was nothing he could do now to fix it. He should have just kept it a secret, like he always had. At least then it was only hurting himself.

"Please, Luke! P-please say s-something. Please," Michael sobbed, choking on his own words and tears.

"Michael."

"I'm so sorry! I-I shouldn't have said anything, b-but it was my resolution! We n-never back out on our r-resolutions."

"Michael."

"I'm sorry." Michael's voice was soft now, his cries having died down from sobs to regular crying. 

"Michael, can you listen to me?"

The red haired boy let his eyes flutter open when he felt strong arms wrap around him, pulling him into a hard chest. He breathed in the smell of Luke, the smell that always made him feel like he was home.

"I-I'm so sorry, Luke. I'm so s-sorry."

"Stop apologizing. Don't say sorry."

Michael nodded, sniffling. "Okay."

"Mikey, I don't hate you. And I'm not going anywhere."

"But-"

"I was shocked, I just-I never really expected this. I'm sorry for scaring you."

Michael nodded again. "It's okay. Not your fault."

"And Michael, I-I don't love you. Not like you love me."

Michael shook a little, swallowing down the sobs that threatened to rack through his body once again.

"But, I do like you. I like you the way you love me. I have for a while, I just-I didn't want to ruin things between us, in case it was just a crush. But I do, I like you. And I could definitely fall in love with you, if you let me."

"I-what? Y-you like me?"

"Yeah. I know it's not exactly what you wanted to hear, but it's the truth. I don't want to tell you I love you before I mean it. When I do mean it, then I'll tell you. Then I'll never stop telling you."

"What does this mean?"

"It means that, if you want, I'd like to be your boyfriend."

Michael looked up at the other boy with wide eyes, shock evident on his face. "Really?"

"Really."

"C-can I kiss you? Would that be okay?"

Luke smiled softly at the tear stained boy in his arms. "That would be more than okay."

Michael leaned up, pressing his lips to Luke's in a clumsy kiss. He had never been happier in his entire life.

From inside the house, the boys could hear people counting down to the new year. They were on seven now, and Michael stared into Luke's eyes as the last seconds of 2015 ticked by.

"Hope Ash and Cal understand us missing the resolutions." Michael commented quietly.

"We'll do them after midnight. I already know mine."

In the quiet of the night, the two boys listened to the countdown. Michael smiled softly as he began to count with them.

"Two, one. Happy new year, boyfriend."

Luke grinned, pulling the other boy into a kiss. Michael really could not think of a better way to ring in the new year. And he still hadn't gone back on a resolution.