Consistent

BY : RandomJaz
Category: +S through Z > South Park
Dragon prints: 7345
Disclaimer: I do not own South Park or any of it's characters, nor do I profit from this fanfiction.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Hey, guys! I had a guest reader ask if this fic is discontinued. No, of course not Silly! 😊 Also the song referenced in this chapter is "If I had you" by Adam Lambert.

Xxxxx

I hadn't officially introduced my mother to Sebastian. He was always in my room with me when she was home. Wasn't hiding him. Just, it was the norm.

She found out about him by accident. She was home when I didn't expect her to be. With Sebastian in my sweatshirt, I went downstairs for a drink and found Mom standing at the stove. She was putting together a cup of tea for herself.

Mom opened the pantry for the squeeze bottle of honey shaped like a bear, catching something peculiar in the corner of her eye. She saw a lump in my sweatshirt, and a little black head sticking out the front.

"...Pete, is that a cat?"

"Uh-huh."

"That looks like it's still a baby. When did you-"

"A couple of weeks ago, more or less."

Had she been annoyed that I brought an animal in to the house without her permission, I would have understood. It wouldn't have changed anything, he was mine. Sebastian was staying no matter what.

But, Mom didn't mind him. I took good care of my last cat. She didn't have a reason to think this would be any different.

"You have all the stuff he needs, right?" She used her thumb to stroke his little head.

"Bought everything. He's all set."

Mom sat down to have her tea with a pile of mail waiting for her at the table. She urged me to put the cat down so he could explore, only to scoop him up when he came her way. She'd opened an envelope when she felt him brush past her leg.

Mom got attached to him quickly. She met him one day, and the next day I come home to him missing from my bedroom. I initially panicked before realizing there was a likely reason he wasn't there.

I could faintly hear Mom's television down the hall. Her door was open. Having a hunch, I poked my head in. There, on Mom's lap, was Sebastian.

She was watching the cooking network, interested in making the chicken pot pie some plump southern woman was putting together.

"Remember when you were little and your aunt would make that? That was your favorite thing."

"Aunt Cara made the best chicken pot pie. She never put peas in it. Just carrots."

"You eat them now, though."

"Yeah, I don't mind peas anymore."

Sounded like Mom was going to make pot pie. I left Sebastian there with her while she finished her show because I didn't see the harm in it. At least I knew Mom would be fine watching him when I wasn't home.

I was doing my homework when she knocked after her show was over, and asked if I wanted to go to the supermarket with her. It was years since I'd actually tagged along. She stopped asking once I started keeping my door shut all the time.

"Pete, I couldn't help but notice you have a prom ticket on your desk." She brought up as I pushed the cart along behind her, idly on my phone.

"...yeah. I bought it at school the other day."

She must have seen it when she went in my room to get the cat. There wasn't any reason to hide it.

"Are you going with Mike?"

I actually stopped moving. Mom lightly took the end of the cart in her hand, pulling it along behind her to keep me going.

"I think that's wonderful." She assured me. "I like him. He's a sweet boy."

She stopped in the produce aisle and put a bag of carrots in to the cart, then potatoes.

"You're going to need a tuxedo. We'll get you fitted this weekend."

xxxxxx

April Fool's Day wasn't a day I ever really humored, much. Meaning, I didn't ever go out of my way to prank anyone. Didn't normally care much for others getting pranked, either.

Not until I saw Clyde open his locker that morning, and out came tumbling something close to thirty Nature Valley bars. They fell at his feet like bricks. His friends erupted in laughter.

"Whose ass am I beating?" Clyde immediately looked at Stan.

He laughed harder than anyone else and gave himself away. Without context, it was such a dumb prank. The teachers didn't understand why the guys were losing it as if they'd done something clever.

"Pick up your snacks, and get to class." One ushered everyone along. "I mean, it. Clean this up."

Mike picked two of the granola bars up off the ground.

"You owe me one." He sauntered by. "And, Pete skipped breakfast. Two less you have to pick up."

Mike then faked him out like he was going to throw one. Clyde flinched.

"Just kidding~" Mike winked and went on his way.

Mike's little toss back in October must've been forgiven because the meat head had it in him to clean up the granola bars without complaint. The prank didn't so much as strike a nerve.

He was ready to blow a fuse the first time. He lightened up some, it seemed. Gym class, I saw him and his friends eating the ammunition to the prank after running laps.

"Stan said back in October that he wanted to pull that prank. Didn't really think he'd do it."

"That's so funny." Mike pulled his hair out from a ponytail, raking through the length with his fingers to fix it. "Clyde took it really well."

They've been friends forever. Stan could probably shove one of those granola bars up Clyde's ass, and still be on good terms with him. The two were still yucking it up after school.

Stan must have made some smart-ass remark because Clyde chucked a granola bar at him, but missed the running target. I happened to be there when he missed. I took the corner at the wrong moment.

Clyde froze when it nailed me in the head. Damn, these do hurt. And, Clyde had gotten one to the face.

"Are you fucking kidding me?" I bent down to pick it up, chucking it at Stan.

Somehow, I managed to hit a moving target. Hard.

"Bitch!" Stan yelped down the hall, out of Clyde's line of sight.

"Go long, Stan." I told him. "Jock strap-wearing ass clown."

Clyde lost it. Stan came back, crinkling the granola bar still in its wrapper.

"That was a good throw, you hit me hard." He showed me. "Thing broke in half. Feel it."

"And to think you need a helmet with such a thick skull."

Opening it, Stan ate the damn thing to spite Clyde who couldn't quite pull himself together yet. He wheezed a bit.

"I eat my failures." Stan boasted. "Part of a balanced diet, or whatever."

"I think the word you're looking for is 'humble', Stan." I suggested."Not that I'm worried about your girlish figures, but have you guys just been eating granola bars all day?"

"What else are we supposed to do with them?"

"The Hell if I know."

I left the two to their boyish nonsense.

"Hey, is it okay if I meet you at your house later?" Clyde called out as an afterthought. "I need to study for a test but I have to take my sister to get her braces put on, and I don't know how long it's going to take."

"Whatever works, Jockstrap. I'll be home."

xxxxxx

"What is this?" Clyde sniffed the incense burner with interest.

"That's clove."

"I like it."

"Would you focus?"

I put the burner back on my desk and opened a new sleeve of incense sticks.

"Here." I gave him one. "You can burn it at home."

"Cool."

Clyde laid it flat in his agenda book for safe keeping, otherwise it'd snap. I reviewed his study guide, asking him questions to see what he knew and what he needed help with. He got most of the answers right.

"The study guide is long, but it's just everything you were given for homework these past weeks." I recognized the material we worked on. "You should be fine."

"Didn't want to take any chances. This is the last test before I have to start studying for finals."

"Gotta get all the credit you can. It's fine."

Clyde put the study guide away, checking for his next assignment. His agenda book was well organized. For him, that is. He'd been writing down all his assignments, and storing his worksheets neatly under the cover. His teachers were spoiled. No more wrinkled, half crumpled worksheets.

His backpack had a notebook and pencils. He didn't need to bum supplies off his friends, lately. Clyde actually came prepared to schoo. Granted, one notebook and some pencils was basic effort. But, it was far more than he'd given all year,

"The finish line's in sight." I told him. "Don't fuck it up."

"I won't." Clyde didn't take my comment as anything less than dry encouragement.

He must've gotten used to me. The student body typically take me to be rude. Because, my mannerism aren't tailored to satisfy their need for unconditional sunshine.

"We've got this under control." He laid his study guide flat inside agenda book, putting it away.

"We? You're the one who has to do the work, Jock Strap."

"I'm not doing it by myself."

I wasn't holding his hand or feeding him the answers. Against my preference, it was my job to make sure he was getting the answers right. If Clyde didn't take the initiative to care what the answers were, my job was pointless.

"You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink." I enlightened him, flat. "You're doing the work."

With his study guide done, my job was done. And, my real one started soon.

"Don't forget anything on your way out." I opened the closet for my uniform, pulling it out on a hanger. "I need to get dressed and go, soon. Or, I'm going to be late."

"...You work at the bowling alley?" Clyde gave the tacky striped shirt a closer look, seeing the local emblem along the pocket.

"Laugh all you want from the comfort of your car."

"It's close to my house. I can drop you off on my way home."

In the driver's seat, Clyde just sat down when his phone buzzed. He closed the door, eyes down on his screen. He dropped it in the cup holder, giving the faintest shake of his head.

Wasn't my nature to be nosey. I pretended I didn't see it. Half way out my drive way, the cupholder rumbled with an incoming call. Clyde let it ring.

"...you gonna get that?"

"It's just Bebe." Disinterested, he adjusted the radio.

"Oh." I matched his enthusiasm.

His phone rang, again. Clyde still didn't answer it. While I understood why anyone would opt out of interacting with the bitch, him being one of them struck me intrigued. Bebe was top of the food chain, in school. That was Clyde's territory.

The phone rang a second time.

"Could be life or death."

"You think so?" Clyde glanced over.

"She feeds off attention." I deadpanned. "Clearly, she's withered away to nothing by now."

Clyde turned on his blinker. He took a turn, amused.

"You're funny, Pete. I'll give you that."

"Lucky me, I don't need validation to thrive."

"I mean it."

I fixed my nametag in in the visor mirror, pinning it straight.

"I'm not funny." I shut it. "I'm just mean and people thinking I'm joking."

"Nah. You're not mean." Clyde disagreed. "You're just honest."

"And, you find that amusing?"

"The truth is funny, sometimes."

xxxxxx

Mike's group went in to Prom Night ready to have the time of their lives. Ryan and Bloodrayne went as a couple. Annie and Larry went as friends.

Vlad brought some dude from out of Town that he was talking to, or whatever you wanted to call it. Didn't know the details of the arrangement, didn't care to ask. Wasn't my date.

Rarely was I on the lens end of a camera. Mike reacquainted me with it. The photographer prepared to take our photo, giving us a moment to pose together.

I didn't particularly want to do this, but I wasn't putting up a fight. Mike wrapped his arm around me, pulling me close by the waist. Lips outside my ear, he chortled.

"Smile."

I did for him. The camera flashed, and now Mike had proof of it forever.

"Show anyone, and I'll haunt you when I'm dead." I threatened.

"I'm not scared of things that go bump in the night." Mike took my hand. "And you're not going anywhere any time soon."

I don't know why it didn't occur to me that Mike would want to slow dance with me that night. I followed him out to the floor doing my best to humor this rite of passage the general population cherished.

"Slow dancing is so cliché." I put my hands on his shoulders.

"Cliche?" Mike rested his on my waist, moving slowly with the music. "How so?"

"It's got storybook vibes...fairytales come to mind."

Mike held me closer, like we were the only two in the room.

"Then which one should we be tonight?" He looked down at me with his doting hazel eyes. "Any preference?"

"Whichever one makes you happiest, I guess." I laid my cheek on his chest.

Pairs moved around us, each in their own bubble. Under the dim lights, the faint outlines of moving bodies blurred around us becoming the backdrop to this patch of dance floor that was ours.

"I'm already happy, Pete."

When upbeat music played later, Mike's friends beckoned him back to the dance floor. They owned the night, celebrating with the student body. Looking for some fresh air and elbow room, I went outside.

"Yo, you got a cigarette?" Someone asked me.

"Sorry, I don't smoke anymore…"

"That's wild. You did for years."

I didn't immediately recognize the blonde. The second-hand store tux was a big leap from his orange hoodie.

Kenny bummed some smokes off me over the years out back of the school. He was Stan's friend, a decent guy. But, with a wild side.

He had a flask in hand.

"Want some?" He held it out. "I owe you."

"I'm good."

Kenny tipped his head back, taking a swig.

"Suit yourself." He made a wry face at the liquor and capped it off. "Cheap stuff burns real bad, but it gets the job done."

"So, I've heard. Trying to get through the night?"

"Nah. Just pre-gaming for the after party at Token's."

That Token kid's family was well off. Guy lived in a giant house. I thought he was smarter than to have a bunch of South Park county kids over.

The town of South Park wasn't the largest. Our graduating class didn't have hundreds of kids. Meaning, Token's after party was open to everyone in our grade. I sure hope this guy knew what he was doing.

Mike's friends were going. They fully expected him to go, too. I knew he wouldn't go without me.

If I went home, he'd follow. For the sake of not being an anti-social wet blanket, I casually went along with it when I really didn't want any part in this.

Token's house was just Prom extended, with household furniture and no chaperones. The people were the same, the energy was the same. Music played, people ate.

I quietly snuck away while Mike and his friends did their thing inside. Outside along the pool, some were stripping down to their underwear to swim. People did a group cannon ball, and I ducked away from the splash zone of three cheerleaders.

I hurried to the other side of the yard away from everyone. For such a big place, finding some space was a challenge. Poking around rooms, I found locked doors with people obviously inside and immediately felt bad for Token. Guy was going to have to wash plenty of linens and clean a plethora of household surfaces.

The study was empty and yet to be taken. Likely due to the smell of books and pencil shavings. It just wasn't the ambience people were looking for. Mindful that this was someone else's space, I didn't touch anything and just made myself comfortable on the small couch.

Music from the floor below shook the whole house, giving the floors and wall a pulse. If you were right in the middle of the party, you could hardly hear the person right next to you. Up here, the walls helped mute some of that heavy bass. Enough that I could hear the doorknob rattle.

Prepared to shoo away whatever handsy couple was making their way in here, I got Clyde instead. Neither of us expected to see the other. He quickly shut the door, regardless.

"Can I hide in here?"

"...what are you hiding from?"

"Bebe."

He didn't have to say another word.

"Lock the door if you don't want anyone finding you." I warned him. "Everyone's horny and looking for a room apparently."

"Yeah, that's why I'm hiding from Bebe."

"Really?"

"She's been up my ass lately trying to make Stan jealous."

That sounded like an entirely plausible agenda that dumb blonde would have. Not that it would work. Because, you know. He didn't give two shits about her.

"I've heard she can be...aggressive, when she doesn't get her way." I empathized to the best of my ability.

"Who told you that?"

Bebe was used to getting the guys she wanted. The only other one, thus far, who she couldn't get was Stan. I think Clyde knew that.

"...she gets around, is all I meant." I excused. "Typical attention whore."

"If I turn her down, she's going to make scene." Clyde pressed his ear to the door. "I don't want anything to do with that."

He looked something close to scared, not annoyed.

"Is she your date?" I asked.

"God, no." He answered, offended.

"...that's some harsh talk from somehow who bragged about how slutty she and her friends are."

"What?"

Clyde gave me a confused look, ear still stuck to the door.

"Weren't you bragging about how you and Stan brought her and some other chick to some hotel on Halloween?"

Remembering that day in class, Clyde rolled his eyes.

"Nothing happened."

"Wow, that's a different tune. Having regrets there, Jock Strap?"

He insisted that he was serious.

"Seriously, nothing happened. Bebe bitched Stan was so drunk that night he couldn't pop one. She's just bitter he doesn't like her."

Clyde defended his friend's honor with zero interest in whatever the school slut had to say about him. I don't know what version of events Stan gave, but Clyde would take Stan's word over Bebe's, no questions asked.

"Now, me...that actually happened to. Got completely wrecked in the next room with Lola." Clyde confessed. "Tell anyone, and I'm denying it."

"...uh, what makes you so confident your date won't come clean?"

"Lola wants people to think we hooked up."

Sleeping with the linebacker looked good to her posse, so she played it up like something had gone down. And, ruining Clyde's reputation didn't serve her any purpose anyhow. She considered him a friend, Clyde said.

"Lola hangs with some shallow ass girls, but she's actually pretty chill."

"Anything to fit in. I hate high school. Our class is malignantly superficial."

"...that why you hiding in here?"

"Yes, and no. I hate these people, but Mike's doing his thing. So, I'm just waiting this shit out."

The party could last for hours and more than likely would. Out in the party, Stan sent Clyde a text warning him to lay low.

The study's small sofa was just barely fit for two. But, Clyde had that big football build like Stan. They took up more room than the average high schooler. Luckily, being so much thinner, it wasn't too much of an issue when he sat next to me.

Pressed to my end of the small couch, I opened the reading app on my phone intent on passing the time.

"When she gets sick of looking for you, she'll move on to someone else, Jock Strap."

"However long that takes." Clyde complained.

He noticed me pressed up against my arm rest.

"Hey, do you need me to scoot over?"

"If you scoot over, you'll be on the floor."

"I can sit on the floor. You look uncomfortable."

"This is just my face, I'm fine."

Clyde propped his arm along the back of the couch to free up some space, having been shoulder to shoulder with me.

"That better?" He asked.

"I was fine, but yeah."

Stan was somewhere in the house doing his own thing and keeping an eye out for the prowling blonde. The updates were sparse. Clyde kept checking his phone despite there being no notifications.

"You'll stress yourself out doing that." I warned. "He'll tell you when the coast is clear."

"He will." Clyde agreed.

Tapping his phone along one knee, he peered down at my screen.

"What are you reading?"

"Why? Do you want me to read it to you?"

"Mike would."

I gave him a flat sidelong peek.

"Then go find him."

Clyde then made a valid point.

"He's your boyfriend." He countered. "You go find him."

"None of us are here for story time, Jock Strap."

"I meant, you shouldn't hide in here the whole night if you have a date."

The universe decided to give Clyde a check on his scoreboard. Mike went too long without seeing me, asking that I come out of hiding.

"Speak of the devil." I looked at my phone. "Looks like I'm being summoned."

"Were you really going to spend the whole night in here?"

"I didn't actually expect to make it the whole night hiding." I sighed, getting up not all too happy to do so. "I hoped to."

I reluctantly braced to face the party again, weary of the potential anarchy and debauchery that resided on the other side of the door.

"See you around, Jock Strap." I unlocked it.

I guess Bebe took it personally that Clyde wasn't interested. She said fuck him and settled on someone else, reinvesting her attention for the night. The two were necking in a corner, red solo cups in hand filled with God only knows what. I'm sure she expected Clyde to regret his choice assuming if he even stumbled upon the pair.

I passed plenty of pairs in the same sloppy scene. I weaved through bodies looking for a set of hazel eyes in the crowd. I couldn't find them.

Getting elbowed and shoved one too many times by stumbling guests, I lost my patience when one almost spilled their cheap drink on me. I shoved him back. Not hard. It was only to make a point, and passive aggressive at best.

"You mind?" I snapped.

I didn't stop to see who it was. Mike was somewhere and I needed to find him. The crowded space sent my last nerve off. I ducked in to a hallway by the kitchen, finding the only person in this entire house who could pull the thorn out of my ass.

We took the same corner together, finding ourselves to nose. I smiled by pure reflex. Mike lit up and took me by both hands, leading me across a hall. I followed along obediently.

"Where are we going?"

Mike led me along without an answer, finding a side door that led to garden outside. Which was empty.

It had a patio. No one was here.

There were ceramic lawn figurines and painted pottery amongst the tiles and plants. The entire area was secluded by tall hedges, giving the illusion nothing was beyond them. The pool was on the other side.

The hooting and hollering sounded like a situation slipping out of control. I heard a beer bottle smash, followed by a round of cheers.

"This kid is so screwed when his parents get home."

"I heard they went on vacation. He has maids who will clean this all up."

"Being rich must be nice."

"Not as nice as that smile you gave me a minute ago."

Mike's discovery made his night.

"So, you do smile on your own."

"I don't smile."

"But, it happened right before my eyes. I saw it~"

"Only because I was happy to see you-" I defended, clamming up when Mike got that adoring smug look to him.

"You also use the word happy?"

"J-Just shut up, Mike. Jesus Christ."

The few times I found myself embarrassed; this was definitely high on the list. There wasn't another soul here to witness any of this. Mike wouldn't run to tell the world- so really, I had nothing to worry about.

"You're blushing." He pointed out.

"You have eyes, congratulations."

I could put on any act I wanted, Mike learned to see through them. The admiration never left his eyes.

"You're showing your true colors. They're beautiful, Pete."

Every instinct I had was telling me to break eye contact. I couldn't.

My face was outright burning. Being fair-skinned was ironically highly unforgiving. I'm sure I was pink out to my ears and down to my neck.

"...are you having a good time with your friends?" I asked, inconspicuously trying to shift his attention off me.

"The night isn't the same without you, baby bat. Are you going to dance with me, tonight?"

"We danced at Prom?"

"Are you going to have fun with me, is what I mean."

Xxxxxx

So, I got my boots on.
Got the right amount of leather.
And, I'm doing me up with a black color liner.
And, I'm working my strut but I know it don't matter.

All we need in this world is some love.

It was an out of body experience, dancing with Mike. Letting go, riding the rush. Though I was there, I could feel it, I didn't believe it was happening.

This was a world I'd only ever looked in on from the outside. I once watched the one I wanted with every ounce of what made me human, hoping the glass looked both ways. It had torn me apart.

And here I stood now. Sewn back together on the other side.

There's a thin line between the dark side,

and the light side, baby tonight.
It's a struggle, gotta rumble.

Tryin' to find it

But, if I had you.

That would be the only thing I ever need.
Yeah, if I had you.

Then money, fame, and fortune never could compete.

Mike's body moved against mine. The lights flashing over us were erratic and blinding. Like the invasive thoughts I spent half my youth running from. They didn't plague me here.

Mike put me in a trance. I focused on him. Nothing else existed right now. He tamed the world with a grin and lined eyes.

If I had you,

Life would be a party.

It'd be ecstasy.

Yeah, if I had you.
You y-y-y-y-y-you, y-y-y-y-y-you, y-y-y-y-you.
If I had you.

The room smelled of furniture polish and booze. Plus, whatever blend of department store perfumes and colognes wafting the air and rising with the heat. A window had to be open somewhere, I could smell a touch of Spring breeze. It blew in between warm bodies, bringing the world beyond these walls back to us in a fleeting draft before finding its way back out.

From New York to LA.

Getting high, rock and rolling.
Get a room, trash it up 'till it's ten in the morning.

Girls in stripper heels.

Boys rolling in Maserati's.
What they need in this world is some love.

Youth knows no bounds in mass numbers. Hands and mouths roamed all around the room, searching for what shred of companionship there was to be found in adolescence. I felt Mike's tongue ring with every pass of his tongue, his slender fingers squeezing my ass in handfuls.

My hands were in his hair, hips rolling along his thigh. I practically rode it. Mike's hands kept me pressed in close, cementing the rhythm and guiding my hips.

There's a thin line between the wild time,

and a flat-line, baby tonight.
It's a struggle gotta rumble

Tryin' to find it.

But, if I had you.

That would be the only thing I ever need.
Yeah, if I had you.

Then money, fame, and fortune never could compete.

I hadn't a clue what time it was. I didn't know much of anything, right now. I knew Mike had orange soda sometime earlier. And, he'd need another soon. If either of us were willing to part long enough.

If I had you,

Life would be a party.

It'd be ecstasy.

Yeah, if I had you.
You y-y-y-y-y-you, y-y-y-y-y-you, y-y-y-y-you If I had you.

I couldn't have ever imagined this feeling. I needed Mike to live it. The four years I spent loathing high school suddenly never existed. Nothing existed, but Mike.

His chest to mine, I distinctly felt every beat his heart gave. The booming bass blaring from the speakers drowned out absolutely everything else. He had a pulse. The air had a pulse.

I had a pulse.

Feeling it manifest between my legs, Mike kissed me harder. He moved with purpose, grinning against my lips almost devilishly when he felt the tell-tale tremble start along my thighs. I broke the kiss and eased my hips back just far enough that I wasn't riding his leg.

"Mike." I gasped outside his ear, the only way he'd hear me under the deafening speakers. "Careful, or I'm going to-"

I didn't get to finish that sentence. Mike pulled me through the crowd, one elbow in hand. With the other he was fishing for his car keys along the way. The night air hit me with a refreshing gust out the front door.

Mike toted me along behind him down the long driveway lined with mostly empty cars. He unlocked his and pushed me to lie in the back seat, climbing in before shutting the door with a light slam.

He had tinted windows, I reminded myself as his hands went for my belt. He unzipped me and pulled my pants low along my hips.

"I was gonna burst in there." I groaned in relief.

"My fault, baby bat." He apologized not so remorseful. "Oops~"

xxxxxx

Because our society has such an obsession with social media and the false sense of validation it brings, pictures from Prom night were plastered all over Facebook. During first period, I found that someone managed to get a snap of Mike kissing me.

Whoever ran the page took submissions from anyone. Thus, making the original submission anonymous once the photos were posted by a third party.

It was one picture of many taken of the dancefloor. We weren't the only couple who got posted kissing. There were so many, that it didn't really matter. Mike saved the picture to his phone.

He was in multiple photos with his friends throughout the night. The only picture of me was that one. Our Podunk mountain town peers were smart enough not to post any pictures with alcohol blatantly in sight. Especially with the school athletes and scholarship winners in so many of them.

Red solo cups galore, but there could be anything in them. Looking through the photos, I found none with Stan holding one. Just soda cans and bottles of water. He had some snacks. Danced with some friends.

Someone got a picture of Clyde opening a shaken can, managing not to get any on himself. Craig was giving him shit.

"You had orange soda and cola all night, didn't you?"

"That's what you think."

"That's what I'm seeing."

"I wasn't looking to be on camera, idiot. Not my fault."

There weren't any pictures of Clyde with a red solo cup. Looked like he was smart enough to avoid any potentially incriminating evidence. Even if no one could prove what was in the cup, anyhow.

There were tons of pictures of Bebe and her friends, cups held high in the air without a care in the world. The blonde looked sloppy and worn the further I scrolled.

"Yo, Bebe was a mess." One of Clyde's posse snickered. "Too bad you didn't go with her. Could've scored, Dude."

"I don't want whatever she's spreading." He retorted, with disgust. "She's been around everywhere."

"Did Lola have cooties, too?" Same person laughed at him. "I saw her leave with Kenny."

Clyde and Stan played it safe Prom night. They had a lot riding on good behavior. They went, danced, avoided trouble, and then went home.

Meanwhile, I went out of my way to keep a low profile and got plastered on Facebook regardless. Clyde's group must have found the picture because they glanced in our direction.

"We got more action than your friend there." Mike didn't let their eyes bother him. "He should have come home with us."

"Missed opportunity, Clyde." They taunted him. "One of them would have bent over for you."

"Yeah, close your eyes." Craig shouldered him. "It's all pink in the middle, right?"

To say Clyde looked uncomfortable was an understatement. With one stare, I dared him to take a shot at me us after everything I'd done for him. He didn't say a word. He let his friends run with Mike's joke.

xxxxxx

"Lost your nerve, huh?"

Clyde denied it. But, it was obvious. He stared down at one of his study guides propped on a notebook in his lap for the upcoming finals, not too keen on meeting my eye.

"I've got nothing to prove." He erased an answer and rewrote it, idly tapping his foot on Mike's bedroom floor. "They can pick on me."

"My, my. Someone's grown this year." Mike chimed, wiping down his dresser with some cloth. "That's a big leap from 'fags are gross', Clyde."

Clyde cringed at how harsh it sounded in hindsight.

"I shouldn't have said it." He apologized.

"There are worse things than being gay." Mike promised.

"Life is easier when you let go of that toxic macho complex." I added. "And, pull the stick out your ass."

"I really am sorry...I've learned to take a joke."

In the long run, Clyde would be better off for it. Mike, being who he was, had to test it. He got in Clyde's face.

"Aw, do you wanna kiss and make up?"

"Uh, that's okay." Clyde paled.

"You sure?"

Mike leaned in closer until the jock squirmed. He crawled back when Mike's nose brushed his.

If Mike didn't have his pile of pillows, Clyde would have crawled himself to the headboard. It was like watching a cat cower away from the mouse.

"You said you could take a joke."

"This doesn't feel like a joke."

Mike tilted his head slightly.

"No?"

"N-No."

"Hm."

Clyde's pencil rolled off his notebook. He wasn't sure where it landed, looking left and right before freezing as Mike's hand went between his knees.

"Found it." Mike picked it up between the tips of his fingers.

Mike offered him his pencil back. Clyde hadn't remembered how to move, again. He was still frozen.

"I know where to draw the line to a joke." Mike touched the eraser end to Clyde's chin, eyes locked on his. "Unless you're interested in being the punchline."

This lumbering jock was shrinking in record time. I trusted Mike actually knew where to draw the line, waiting for him to ease off before Clyde reverted back to his old ways. Or worse, retaliated.

"What happens here, stays here." Mike boldly sat himself on one of Clyde's knees. "That's a promise."

Clyde broke eye contact with him, signaling me for help.

"Oh~" Mike walked his fingers up his chest. "Do you want him to sit in your lap, too?"

Wide-eyed, Clyde looked like a deer caught in headlights. It was time to intervene now that this taunting was going too far.

"Mike-" The word died on my died before I could get it out.

Clyde rested one hand along Mike's waist. I watched it happen in slow motion. That subtle shift took all but a second.

"...Would he?" Clyde's wide-eyed stare turned hopeful.

xxxxxxx



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