Consistent

BY : RandomJaz
Category: +S through Z > South Park
Dragon prints: 7362
Disclaimer: I do not own South Park or any of it's characters, nor do I profit from this fanfiction.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Here we are! New chapter! (And, HAPPY NEW YEAR!)

Thank you to my Archive of Our Own cite readers, as always, for the continued feedback!

xxxxx

"How many times do I have to tell you to stop showing up uninvited?"

"...you used to like when I did."

Sitting in the bean bag chair I that used to put under the window to cushion his climb inside, Stan looked at me with those blue eyes that just begged for me to come closer. Begged me to tolerate him. And, remember who he used to be to me.

"Second strike, Stan." I warned. "Next time, I'm calling the cops."

"Can we please just talk?"

"What are we talking about this time that we haven't already talked about? I can't keep doing this with you."

Staying far away from him, I sat at my desk. My new blown-glass pumpkin went next to the other one. Everything had a place.

"...It hurts that you replaced me."

"Life hurts, Stan."

"Without you, it does. Yeah."

In his hands, he had the purple choker. He took it off my nightstand before I came in. I'd left it in plain sight. Right next to Michael's. The ultimate demotion.

"Suck it up, Football Captain. You wanna play the part so bad, learn how to do it."

"You won't even look at me, Pete. I can't suck that up."

"Figure it out."

He surrounded himself with all that toxic masculinity. It would only get worse in the big leagues. If he made it. Can't get your feelings hurt there.

"Could you at least look at me? Please?"

"You're not in any position to be asking for favors." I scolded him, matter of fact. "Give one good reason why I should even entertain this conversation, or get out."

"...it kills me that you really think I slept with Bebe. You wouldn't even give me the benefit of the doubt."

"Because, there's nothing you can say to talk your way out of this one, Stan. You've hurt me for the last time. I'm not doing this with you, anymore."

"I need to show you something. Please, just let me show you."

Slowly, I turned my chair around. What could he possibly have to show me? Stan pulled out his phone, a glum, defeated look to him...whatever he was about to show me, he was ashamed of it.

"A chat log with Bebe?"

"There's a video in there. Watch the video. Then read it."

The video Bebe sent was from Halloween night. I recognized her skimpy clothes. She and Stan were in some cheap motel room. Her phone had to be propped up on a dresser or something, because it had a full view of the bed.

She was on top of him, rubbing her whore hands all over his shirt. On the nightstand, was a bottle of some cheap liquor. Stan may have left the dance sober, but he was drunk here. They both were.

"Stan~" The blonde purred. "I love a boy who plays hard to get."

He weakly pushed her away, mumbling something about being serious. She was rubbing her chest in to him, trying to lick his face. Her hand crept south, cupping him through his jeans...he was soft. Bebe froze, suspicious.

"I-I'm really drunk." Stan excused, trying to inch back and away. "This isn't going to work."

"I'll fix it."

She tried unbuttoning his jeans, only to be thwarted.

"Seriously, stop it...get off me." He insisted.

"...Excuse me?"

Bebe's tone was offended...bitter. She scowled, turning her nose down at Stan like he'd just insulted her.

"You don't want me?"

"That's not what I meant!" Stan tried to save himself. "I-I can't get it up when I'm drunk."

He was sweating bullets, no idea he was being recorded. He never acknowledged the presence of the camera phone. Had he known it was there, he would have scrambled to shut it off. He never would have allowed himself to be recorded in this situation.

Bebe grabbed Stan's hands and forced him to grope her breasts. It didn't elicit the arousal she was after. Stan looked ready to gag. And, he did. Before making a run off screen to throw up. He had too much to drink Halloween night, too.

"Lola and Clyde had the room next to ours. We left them alone so they could do their thing...it was only supposed to be a few drinks to kill time. She set me up."

"...you didn't sleep with her."

"Nope. And, now she's blackmailing me."

The texts that accompanied the video were Bebe threatening to send it out if he didn't play along like he slept with her. If he told people the truth, she would use that video to get him kicked off the football team and spread a rumor that he's gay.

Because no one rejects Bebe Stevens. Absolutely no one. Every hot-blooded straight male in our school wanted her. She was willing to get kicked off the cheerleading team if it meant taking Stan down with her.

"Why didn't you send me this?"

"Not that I don't trust you, but this isn't exactly something I want accessible from another phone...and I didn't want you to see me like that. Sloppy and sad, trying to be someone I'm not."

Turns out, I was the jackass this time. Stan had told the truth. He tried to explain. I didn't let him.

"I said I loved you. I meant it every time, Pete. Every single time."

Stan rubbed his thumbs over the purple ribbon. The choker that I replaced right along with him.

"I don't know what else I can do to prove it to you. I broke up with Wendy...I was ready to be all yours. Then, you replaced me."

"You haven't been Mr. Perfect. Don't guilt trip me."

"Did I say I was perfect?"

Nope. Stan never tried to pass himself off as perfect. Not to me. He never felt like he had to be anyone but himself when we were together...just us.

"No one's perfect." I clarified.

"Mike must be. You took to him, right away." Stan countered.

"Can you leave Mike out of this?"

I got oddly defensive.

"...You're my boyfriend. I didn't spend all this time grasping at straws to keep you just to lose you to Mike Makowski, of all people."

The remorse I could've had for Stan dissolved.

"I'm not your boyfriend, anymore. I'm not even sure I ever was."

"...What."

"Beyond closed doors, you weren't my boyfriend. So how was I ever really yours?"

"You already know-"

"Yeah, Stan. I know. I never forgot."

I turned my chair back around. Just looking at him was pissing me off, now. The more he talked, the worse it was.

"Why are you mad at me? I proved I didn't cheat on you."

"If I want to be mad, it's my right. Don't play stupid."

"I should be the one mad at you, this time. The least you could have done was let me explain myself before jumping to another guy. Whether you thought I was cheating, or not."

In theory, he was right. I may have given him the opportunity had he not neglected me as frequently as he did. I didn't have the reason to believe he was remotely innocent. Not with Stan's ways.

"You should have at least texted me after Halloween." It still bothered me. "I know you were drunk after the dance, but there's no excuse for the day after."

"I had every intention of coming to see you that Monday, after school. Then Wendy blew up in front of everyone in the hallway... I saw you standing there. I was mortified."

Stan's gaze drifted towards my bed.

"I didn't think it could get worse. You and Mike proved me wrong when I walked in on him…." He really struggled to put what he saw in to words. "…devouring… you."

"Had you not climbed through my window uninvited, you wouldn't have seen that."

That day ran through Stan's head. The scene playing haunted him just as I suspected it would. Mike did devour me, leaving a constellation of love-bites to prove it. I stared at them for days, I wanted to keep them. The only marks that I liked...they faded. And there wasn't anything I could do to hold on to them.

"...You never let me mark you up." Stan sounded like a jealous little kid who just watched someone else get the prize they wanted. "What's so special about him?"

"I already told you to leave Mike out of this."

"Break up with him and you'll never hear me say his name, again."

Always playing in accordance to his own agenda. Typical.

"Time's up." Snapping my fingers, I blindly pointed towards the window. "Out."

"Why?"

"I'm not letting you manipulate me."

"But when Mike does it, it's fine."

That made me turn around.

"Mike doesn't manipulate me."

"No? Super convenient that you date the goody-goody and suddenly you quit smoking."

"…how do you even know that?"

"I can hear it in your voice. You sound better."

That was Stan's nice way of saying my voice wasn't raspy.

"I'll have you know, I did that on my own."

"Uh-huh. Did you recently decide to start liking Christmas, too?"

"I don't like Christmas."

"But you went to his party."

He kept bringing this back to Mike. Mike wasn't the weak link in our relationship. We were a house of cards waiting to come crashing down with every passing breeze and breath. Mike just happened to be there and catch me when they all went scattering.

"I hate football and went to your game." I defended.

"After how many years?" Stan shot back.

"Go home, Stan. You're still a selfish asshole."

This was worse than talking to a wall. At least a wall didn't have a selfish agenda. A wall wasn't spoiled. A wall couldn't keep coming back to haunt me with something that wasn't going to work.

"I'm selfish for wanting you back?" Bewildered and trying to figure what he did wrong, Stan furrowed his brow. "How does that make me selfish?"

"You're selfish because you don't care what I want."

"I don't care what you want?"

"Did I stutter?"

It was a stretch. I wouldn't admit it. Holding my ground, I stared Stan down.

"Just because I can't give you the relationship that you deserve, doesn't mean I don't care... If wanting you makes me selfish, I don't know what to do. Tell me what I need to do, for you."

"You need to let me live my life. Go live yours, Stan."

"I don't want to, without you."

"It's an awful feeling, isn't it?"

The ceiling fan didn't spin. It hung there above us, ominously. Stan never saw me hanging there blue in the face and gasping for air. He could only imagine it through Michael's eyes.

"Had I known you were so depressed, I wouldn't have gone out with Wendy that day." Stan repented, refusing to look up at that ceiling fan. "I would have put you first."

"I shouldn't take me being clinically depressed to come first."

"She doesn't have to come between us anymore. Neither does anyone, or anything, else."

With difficulty, Stan got out of the bean bag chair. I pointed a finger at him, cautioning him to keep his distance from me. It didn't stop him. He dropped to his knees in front of me, putting his head in my lap.

"Don't make me end the year without you." His plea was the most pitiful I'd heard. "Pete..."

Stan nuzzled his cheek in to my thigh. The soft cotton of my pajamas was gentle on his skin.

"I'm so sorry. For everything, okay?"

I went to shove him off. But, once my hand touched his hair, that's all I could do. He was sorry. This towering guy was literally at my feet. This was a real apology.

"I miss you." Stan kissed my thigh, relieved that I hadn't reacted violently to his affection. "Do you miss me?"

"Can't say that I have."

"I'll do better. Whatever it takes, I'll do better."

Stan was determined to have me back. But, it wasn't ideal. For either of us.

"You start college next year." I reminded him. "You really think having a dirty little secret like me is going to be any easier?"

"I don't care."

"I do. I can't be your secret, Stan. No matter how sorry you are."

Stan didn't move, scared that if he let go this was the last time he'd ever feel me.

"I want to be with you forever."

"Forever's a long time."

"Not long enough." Stan mumbled miserably. "We're wasting time."

xxxxx

The Christmas mayhem at the mall died out leading up to the new year. Mike's group went to see what holiday clearance they could score at the Hot Topic before everything went back to normal. I didn't complain and just sat outside in one the massage chairs the malls offered.

I didn't pay to use it. Mike gave better massages. He was warm, and human.

The whole group left the store, content with what they found. Mike tried the stuff on at home.

"What do you think?" He asked my opinion of the ripped skinny jeans, the only spec of clothing on him right now. "These don't make my ass look totally flat, do they?"

"Your ass looks fine."

"Just fine?"

I rolled my eyes at the saucy question.

"You could wear a potato sack and make it work."

"Aww~"

Mike took the praise and tried to wiggle himself out of the jeans. These were super skinny, fitted to his body. Doing some lunges to loosen them up, he tried again. They weren't budging.

"I'm going to need your help, baby bat."

On his back on the bed, Mike had me stand at his ankles. I pulled at the bottom of his pants, Mike lifting his hips and wiggling to help the process along.

"I prefer skinny jeans, too. But, this is ridiculous."

"They're brand new. They all start like this. Ask Vlad."

With a triumphant yank, I got his pants off. Folding them in half, I tossed them on Mike.

"I'll pass."

"Merely a joke, baby bat. Though, he would tell you if you asked."

"He'd be glad to, I'm sure."

"Well, he always got a good laugh over it."

In his black underwear, Mike sat up and folded the jeans to put them aside.

"You want to tell me what crawled up your bum? It looks like something is bothering you."

"When do I look unbothered?"

"When your dick is in my mouth or ass, you're good."

"Excluding THAT."

Mike didn't bother getting redressed to have this conversation.

"You're stalling." He accused me. "Tell me what's wrong."

"You're assuming something's wrong."

"I don't treat you like you're stupid. Give me the same courtesy."

"I know you're not stupid. I just don't want to talk about every little thing that happens."

If I talked about everything that bothered me, I'd never shut up. I'd scream, and scream, and scream...

"Put me at ease?" Mike bargained.

"It won't."

"Won't know until you tell me."

I always felt obligated to be as truthful as I could with Mike. To a strict extent, of course. This wasn't going to be easy.

"Stan paid me a surprise visit last night."

"Last night?"

"Last night..."

He wasn't jumping to the worst-case scenario, just surprised.

"Did you let him in the front door?"

"No. I need to start locking my window."

"How did this visit go?"

"Nowhere near how I expected."

I had Mike's full attention. I wish he wasn't so keen on eye contact.

"Remember the Monday after Halloween?" I asked.

"Are we talking about at school, or here afterschool?"

"School."

"I remember Stan breaking your poor little heart."

Oh, boy.

"Yeah...it turns out that was a load of shit."

"I'm not following."

"Stan never slept with Bebe. He had the texts with her to prove it...and video."

Filling Mike in, he didn't really react. I don't know how I expected him to react. He waited for me to finish explaining everything before saying anything.

"What does this mean to you?"

"What does what mean to me?"

"This bit of information."

Folding my arms, I tucked my hands under armpits. I looked down at the floor because looking right at Mike was killing me.

"It means for the first time in our whole relationship, I'm the one who fucked up." It hurt to say it, I never thought I'd be the one to mess up. "Thinking back on it, I technically cheated on him Halloween, too."

"You didn't cheat on him."

"You don't remember making out? Running your hands all over me...the fact that I was hard the whole entire time?"

"You don't remember melting at my affection? How badly you needed it?"

Firm, but compassionate, Mike chided me.

"You didn't cheat on him. He cheated you of an actual relationship."

"Don't twist this."

"I'm not. You drank yourself in to a pitiful mess because of him, I know you did. You were in pain watching Stan. Not once did he even see you. But, you're the one who did wrong? I don't think so."

"You wouldn't have let me touch you if you didn't need it." Mike insisted, simple as day. "Healthy relationships don't crumble that easily."

Stan's and I's relationship was anything but healthy, he was right. But, I still did him wrong. His wrongs didn't justify mine.

"He had recently broken up with Wendy...he wasn't out of the closet, but he wasn't going to make me share him anymore." I still defended. "It doesn't matter how much he fucked up, Mike. I did, too."

"Are you willing to be his dirty little secret forever, Pete? Is that what you're trying to tell me?"

"...no. I'm actually not even sure what it is I'm trying to tell you."

Mike had thought I was trying to break up with him. That wasn't it. If that were the case, I would have made that the focus of this conversation.

"I think I just feel guilty." I concluded, figuring it out as I went along. "Like I owe him something."

Mike had a simple remedy for that.

"Maybe you two were just always meant to be friends." He suggested. "He can't give you what you need, you know that. But, you obviously care about him. If you didn't, we wouldn't be having this conversation."

It'd been a while since Stan and I were just friends. How was this a good idea? Maybe it wasn't. But, it was the only idea I could work with. I didn't want him back, and if I ignored him he'd just keep coming back anyways.

"I'll sleep on it. He'll always be around."

"He will."

I wasn't struggling with the choice between Stan or Mike. I just didn't ever think it was possible to have them both after everything that happened. Mike tossed some tags in the garbage, coming over to hold me by the hips when I didn't move from my spot.

"You deserve a fighting chance to be happy. If being his friend will help, I see no problem with that."

"I don't want him changing anything...like us."

"He can't change anything unless you let him."

I trusted myself. Could I trust Stan? If he was truly sorry, there was a chance.

xxxxxx

The New Year's party Mike was invited to took place at Vlad's house. They catered the event with a Chinese restaurant just out of town because the local City Wok would give everyone food poisoning. I would know.

"I saw my dad get sick on City Wok, as a kid." The memory of Dad heaving cheap beer and take-out all night was disgusting. "I never touched the stuff because of that."

"City Wok is disgusting, I'm not sure how that place stays open." Vlad popped the tab off a can of soda. "This place costs more but my parents don't mind paying for it. It's edible."

Vlad's household owned a dog. The heavy gray Pitbull decided it liked me, sitting itself across my thighs, pinning me to Vlad's bedroom floor. I fed him a piece of beef off my plate after seeing Vlad give him a fried chicken finger.

"Animals seem to like you." Mike pat the dog. "Poe and Lenore. Now Spike. I'm surprised you don't own any pets."

"I owned a tuxedo cat when I was a kid. His name was Butler. He died."

"Why didn't you get another one?"

"I had to put him down Freshman year. I'm not over it, yet."

Finished with my paper plate, I set it down. Spike started licking it, which didn't surprise Vlad.

"He ate the food, bud. All gone."

Spike looked up at me, whining a bit.

"I'm the person here." I told him. "You get dog food."

"He being mean to you, Spike?"

Lying back down, Spike grumbled licking the empty plate one last time.

"I'm sorry about your cat, Pete." Vlad offered his condolences. "I don't know what I'd do if I had to make that decision for Spike."

"He was old, and his joints couldn't take it anymore...Didn't want him to suffer."

"You did the right thing. You're stronger than I am."

Not wanting to talk about Butler anymore, I didn't respond. Euthanizing a pet was a pain I didn't wish upon others. It did take a strong person to do it.

I loved that cat. I wouldn't talk to anyone for days after I brought him to the vet with Mom and we didn't come back with him. I remember Mom sliding a note under my bedroom door when she went and picked up Butler's ashes for me later that week. The little black box was waiting for me on the floor, with his favorite cat toy. His gray mouse.

"Vince!" Vlad's father knocked on the door. "Your mother, wants you to get the other box of party stuff from the attic."

"Okay. I'm on it"

Vlad went to fulfill his mother's request, looking for the party hats and noise makers. His dad went back to the party, looking for the next order his wife assigned him.

"This is my favorite New Year." Mike rested his head on my shoulder.

"What's so special about this one?"

"I'm starting it with you. It's truly a treat to be on your good side."

It was time to feed the dog. Downstairs, one of Vlad's parents, presumably his dad, dumped kibble in to Spike's bowl in the kitchen. Spike's ears perked and he bolted from the room to go eat.

"I was beginning to think I'd never get through to you, baby bat."

"It took me hitting rock bottom."

"Beautiful thing about rock bottom is, you can only go up."

Mike kissed me and we were interrupted.

"Um, excuse me."

"Yes?" Mike chimed.

"He still owes me one from Christmas Eve. And, I don't feel that's fair."

I assured him life was, in fact, unfair.

"Cry me a river, Vlad." I told him.

"I might."

Mike tossed a short stack of clean napkins at him. They scattered in Vlad's lap.

"To wipe your tears." he explained, cheekily dragging an eyelid down. "You're welcome."

"You two might be meant for each other." Vlad tossed the napkins back at Mike "I'll be fine. You can keep those."

"What am I supposed to do with these?"

"Stuff your flat ass."

Purposely having meant to get a rise out of Mike, Vlad made a run for it. Mike, who had thankfully taken off his heels earlier on in the evening, bolted after him with a pillow from Vlad's bed.

"I never heard you complaining!" he hollered down the hallway.

xxxxx

The rest of Mike's crew showed up for the party, partaking in the food and games before the big countdown to midnight. Vlad got some old games from a closet somewhere.

"Left hand on yellow, Ryan." Mike instructed.

A twister mat was laid out on the floor, with Larry, Ryan, Bloodrayne and Annie on it. Vlad and Mike waited for Ryan to take his turn.

"How the fuck am I supposed to get my hand over there? Bloodrayne's ass is in the way."

"Oh, now you're hesitant to touch it?"

"The circumstances are a little different here, Babe."

Ryan maneuvered himself past his girlfriend, planting his hand on a yellow circle. Vlad spun for Larry.

"Looks like right hand on blue, Man."

Moving in to the position left Larry eye-level with Bloodrayne's cleavage. He darted his eyes down, complaining how awkward this became.

"At least her boobs look good. Could be worse." Annie offered. "You could be stuck looking at Ryan's ass, like me."

"What's wrong with my ass?"

Bloodrayne and Annie were laughing, meanwhile Larry begged for Mike or Vlad to do the next spin.

"I don't know why you're in such a rush. If someone fucks up and knocks you down, you're landing on your dick."

"My dick isn't hard, Vlad!"

"Keep looking down to keep it that way."

Mortified, Larry kept his eyes down. Easy going, Bloodrayne gave him a friendly peck to the side of his head. This was a group that was comfortable with each other.

Bloodrayne survived her turn, but it was Annie who slipped, taking Ryan and Bloodrayne with her.

"I win!" Larry boasted, the last person still in place.

"That's a first." Ryan drawled, picking himself up off the floor. "Alright, Larry stays. You guys have to take our place. Mike hand me the thing, I'll spin."

Vlad and Mike got in to position on opposite ends of the mat. I didn't follow them.

"I'm not playing."

"Baby bat."

"No."

"You want to go in to the new year still being an anti-social sour puss?"

I was willing to answer that but Mike stopped me.

"Nevermind, don't answer that. And, don't make me beg."

While we all thought Larry getting stuck with Bloodrayne's boobs in his face was awkward, it got worse with our turn. At some point I'm face to face with Mike so close that our noses are touching, and tangled up with Larry reaching over me, and Vlad's behind me. To top it all off, the spot he needs to get to is under me.

"Pete, I'm coming in from behind. Don't move."

"You're not going to do what I think you're going to do."

"Just don't move."

Aiming as low to the ground as he could, he reached between my legs from behind. I was already pretty close to the ground with Larry on top of me. The spot Vlad had to get was just past my knees and under my stomach.

"If you graze my taint, I swear to God I'm yeeting Larry across the room and kicking you in the face."

"His face is like an inch away from your ass, and that's what you're worried about?" Ryan asked me.

"And I thought I had it bad. At least Ryan wasn't that close to me." Annie reasoned.

I could faintly feel Vlad breathing, he was so close to the seat of my pants.

"Whatever you do, don't touch his taint." Larry pleaded.

"Only because I know you left your retard helmet at home."

"Why are you guys like this?"

I held my own breath as Vlad reached under me. He had to a few times and ease back because Ryan and Annie were wheezing from the notion that Larry wore a helmet meant for special-needs children.

"Stop making me laugh!"

"You said Larry left him helmet at home!"

The top of Vlad's arm almost grazed me. Mike's eyes glittered with amusement.

"You're getting a sick kick out of this, aren't you?" I accused him.

"I wish you could see your face."

"That means yes."

Vlad made it to the spot he needed to, without accidentally touching any delicate areas. Now it was absolutely crucial that I not move a muscle. Or else Vlad would get a mouthful of my ass, or a feel below the belt.

"I'll pay you $20 to bite his ass." Mike offered Vlad.

"If I didn't like my front teeth so much, I'd do it. You know I would."

If I so much as felt his teeth graze my jeans, I'd knock them out.

"Do I need to explain what sexual harassment is?"

"Who explains sexual harassment to you and me?" Vlad sang." It's Petey, the sexual harassment Panda~"

Everyone erupted in laughter. The panda mascot that came to our elementary school as kids, his name was actually Petey. Fuck my life.

"Vlad, I have never hated you more than I do right now."

xxxxxx

South park erupted in to a choir of cheers when the clock hit midnight. This was it, this was the new year. Another 365 days to get through before the next one.

I made it a whole year still breathing. I had it in me to be grateful, even with school Winter vacation coming to an end in the next couple of days.

Mike and I were the only guests left after the party at Vlad's. After putting away the games we'd taken out, it was closer to one in the morning. Vlad's Mom popped her head inside the open door.

"Vince, if your friends are staying the night make sure you get the new air mattress. That old one has a hole in it somewhere, and your father can't find it to patch it up."

There was no conversation that had taken place about sleeping over. Vlad acknowledged what his mom said, promising to get fresh sheets if he set up the air mattress. Mike and I were ready to go, and there was a loud crash outside. Everyone rushed to the windows to see what it was.

"Drunk driver...the moron." Vlad's father muttered at the car wreckage on his street.

A car hit a tree and Vlad's mother was on the phone dialing for an ambulance. Neighbors left their homes to go to the aid of the driver. Many also called for emergency services from their cellphones.

"Vince, set up the air mattress." Vlad's mom instructed him. "I don't want your friends driving out on the streets, tonight."

"Plenty more stupid bastards out there." Vlad's father agreed, grimacing at the scene. "Last thing we need is for them to get hit and killed because these people had no business getting behind the wheel of a car."

Vlad brought the air mattress out and began blowing it up in his room. The mechanic whir of the air pump could be heard going while we stayed by the windows to watch the first-responders arrive. I waited to see what drunk piece of garbage they pulled from the smashed car.

It was my dad.

"Lousy asshole." Vlad's father scolded, none the wiser. "What a waste of skin."

"That's a little harsh..." Mike piped in, half-heartedly, because he recognized the bloody, unconscious mess they were loading up in to the ambulance.

"No. He's right." I said. "That is a waste of skin."

I wanted to text Mom and tell her Dad had officially drank himself to injury. She'd find out on her own, though. They'd find her under his emergency contacts. Currently, I had to accept I was stuck at Vlad's house for the night.

His clothing was far too big for Mike and I. Instead of wearing pajama bottoms that were just going to fall off anyways, we wore Vlad's big t- shirts over our underwear for the sake of covering up. I still felt naked with my legs out and no pants.

"You two act like I've never seen a guy in his underwear. You don't have to cover up. My folks aren't going to come bug us."

"Baby bat's a bit bashful." Laid out on his side of the air mattress, Mike winked. "Excuse him."

"That's cute."

Giving them both the middle finger, I got on my side.

"Funny how this is the first time you actually use the air mattress." Vlad commented when Mike said it wasn't as bad as he thought it would be. "You always just slept up here."

"Your Mom was none the wiser, too."

"What she doesn't know won't hurt her."

Turning off the light, Vlad left the T.V on to watch. The unfamiliar setting kept me awake. The sound of me turning on the air mattress was aggravating, but Mike and Vlad were sympathetic.

"You thinking about your dad?" Mike whispered.

"I don't care enough. I just can't sleep."

Vlad retrieved something from the bathroom in the hallway, trying to help.

"Mom keeps her sleeping pills in the medicine cabinet." He offered one to me. "It's only a couple milligrams of Clonidine. It's mild, she lets me take them when I can't sleep."

Taking someone else's prescription wasn't good, but I trusted him. If he had taken it, it was fine. Wasn't like I was on anything else that would interact with it.

I felt it hit fast, calming me down and making me sleepy-ish. Vlad was back in his bed, and Mike smoothed down my shoulder. Pressed in to his chest, I focused on his smell. It was the only familiar thing there. That, and his touch.

"You're sure you're alright?" He asked. "You don't want to go to the hospital?"

"Dad's a dick." My loose lips slipped. "He can die there for all I care."

When my phone started ringing, I knew who it was without having to check. I rolled away from Mike to grab it off the floor. My mom told me what had happened with Dad.

She wasn't on the way to the hospital. She wanted to be the one to tell me first in case I got a call from the hospital next.

"Whatever happens, don't go to the hospital." Mom told me, wanting to keep me uninvolved. "You don't need to be bothered with it."

I couldn't be any more unbothered. Dad could die and it wouldn't hurt me. I didn't love him. He didn't love me.

In a rare occurrence, Mom told me she loved me. She knew I was at a friend's house sheerly from the fact I wasn't home with her.

"Stay put with your friend until morning, Pete. It isn't safe out there." She told me before saying goodnight.

Xxxxxx



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