A huge thank you to my friend and editor Flip McHooter, you make writing this story that much more enjoyable for me.

For anyone who wants to contact me, here's my address: blackarrow070@gmail.com

All rights reserved. No parts of this story may be transmitted or reproduced in whole or in part in any form or by any means, mechanical or electronic, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the written permission of the Author, except where permitted by law.

Copyright 2013-2015 Black Arrow


The life and times of a teenage Russian spy stationed in the US of A.


Chapter 12


I stumbled forward in a very hazy state, somewhat disoriented until I finally began to recognise my surroundings. I was in an old log cabin, the air tinged with the distinct smell of pine. The walls stacked with shelves full of boxes haphazardly loaded one on top of the other. The deeper I strode inside the more vivid and familiar the setting began to appear.

This was one of the many locations my summer camps were held at. After being successfully stationed within the States, I only got to see the other seven survivors of the Lonestar trials once a year. This was our annual rendezvous but far from a cheery reunion, we weren't the social kind-well I wasn't. In contrast to that, this was spy boot camp cleverly disguised as a kid friendly athletics program.

Now that all my faculties had returned, that's when I became aware of the weight between my arms, I was carrying a box. I recognized this as the medical supply room, and it was my turn to stock the shelves, again. This was one of my least favorite duties around the camp ground, implying I actually had a first choice. I didn't.

I dropped the box of supplies on the nearest table and wiped at my arms which had begun to sweat where my skin made contact with the box.

It was insanely hot, reaching temperatures into the nineties. My hair was dripping water from the last time I had attempted to cool myself off. The rest of me was clammy and sticky from the sweat running down my body. I wore the lightest tank top I owned and shortest gym shorts to try expel as much heat as possible but that was no help against the scorching midday sun.

The air was hot and humid; it hung heavy and unyielding in the small room I was currently in. I ran a finger over the worn wood surface of the desk and casually read the labels on some of the bottles lining the walls.

The small room didn't hold much of interest, just a single desk in the center with no accompanying chair. A small window right at the back that gave a slight view of the canopy of trees opening into the forest from the camp site.

I found the clipboard hanging by a nail against the left wall, I should be out of here in an hour give or take depending on how thoroughly the last person did their shift. If the clipboard was a mess of inconsistencies which I had an itchy feeling that would be the case, then I'd have to familiarize myself with my surroundings, this sauna would be my home for a while.

I gasped at the sudden feel of hard, cold steel that was now pressing against my warm skin, but that was all he would get out of me, I was determined not to make a sound.

"Not so smart now with a knife at your neck, huh?" the cocky male voice snarled into my ear.

"Such a coward," I managed before feeling the knife press into my flesh harder than before but not breaking the skin as yet. I clenched my teeth and swallowed hard making sure to control my breathing and feign indifference to the present danger.

I felt his hot breath like a blow torch run along the nape of my neck. Although I was standing rigid in place, my skin responded as I felt a sea of goose bumps rise from the sensation. My breath hitched despite my best efforts and my exhales came out in short huffs. I was fully aware of his hard body now pressing behind me. Every inch of my exposed skin was in direct contact with his.

I knew that's how he liked it, complete dominance, to feel like he was in absolute control- the alpha male. His hand crept up my thigh and began to lift my shorts as he felt up my body. From that mere touch alone, I felt his member rapidly come to life and he instinctively began to thrust against my back.

I couldn't see him but I could clearly imagine the lust soaked expression he was wearing from sheer memory alone. His own breathing quick and heavy but I remained steadfast in my resolve, not responding to his calling.

He noticed this after a minute had passed of one sided fondling. He suddenly spun me around and backed me into a nearby shelf with the knife still pressed against my neck.

I finally got the chance to face my aggressor. He had buzzed, ash-blonde hair, dark brown eyes and a very distinct, large scar that ran from his eyebrow down to the middle of his cheek. He was no stranger to me and neither were his primitive sexual advances.

The sadistic son of a bitch wouldn't think twice before slitting someone's throat. That's how volatile and disassociated he was from any fragments of humanity he may have had left. He was a cold, ruthless sociopath, in other words, a complete success by my handlers' standards.

"I dare you to call me that again once I'm done."

"You disgust me," I breathed meaning every bit of that word.

"And you like it," he rasped before smashing his mouth into mine, crushing my lips and stealing my breath. He dropped the knife to his side as soon as my hands went on to cup his face in a completely automatic, involuntary kind of way, like I was under hypnosis. We made out violently, furiously like rabid animals.

I truly did mean it when I said he disgusted me. The effect he had on me was carnal and regressive. His mere touch coaxed the savage out of me and the worst part of it was that he was right, I did like it. That's how our attraction felt, red-hot, dirty and against my better judgement.

This was the union of two entities that had no business fornicating, the repercussions deadly and the sum of combined energies exceeded that of any individual. The gains exponential but the price paid immeasurable. This was no tame school science project; this was when fire met gasoline- him and me

He was arrogant, cunning and vile. The kind of guy that should be locked up far away from the rest of humanity because he was a psychopathic killer and loved it. It was psychedelic for him, an unparalleled high you could never gain from anything shy of cold blooded murder and the likes. He was dangerous, he was greedy and he wanted it all, more specifically- he wanted me. In ways we'd both never understand.

This was how it always started, he would make a pass at me and I would brush him off like a common pest. Like he was of no consequence, insignificant because I knew he was a snake and the only thing you could trust a snake to do, was to bite sooner or later. He was poison, he was toxic and I wanted nothing to do with him.

Absolutely nothing.

...except maybe sex.

All I'd really accomplished by rejecting his come-ons was to fuel his anger and hunger for my flesh. How dare I deny him his right to my body? Sound possessive? That's because he was. He always kept score, he was unforgiving. A bruised ego on his part meant a bruise of some sort on the offender in turn. It would all build up to a standoff much like the one we were in now, where he'd corner me and make sure I didn't have anywhere to run and nowhere to hide.

I moaned as he began necking me on my sweet spot. We thrust, we grappled and pulled on each other with a reckless abandon. He made it copiously evident when he'd had enough foreplay because I felt his blade ride up my leg as he swiftly slashed my gym shorts and underwear leaving me completely exposed.


"Easy access," he rasped shrugging unapologetically,

Before I could form any sentient thought or retort to that effect, he scooped me up and placed me right at the edge of the lone desk in the room. I was keenly aware that someone could walk in on us but the sheer thrill of our sexing far outweighed that possibility.

He yanked his own shorts down to reveal a patch of dark blond hair beneath a clear cut v that adorned his lower abdomen. His body was like a machine, hard, cut and lean. Clearly made for the kill. Every muscle visibly defined, his skin tight and veins running along his forearms bulged as he wrapped my legs around his waist.

"You made me wait all week," he said in a guttural growl.

"And I would have made you wait even longer," I said in an antagonistic voice. It was too natural, with absolutely no thought into it. I liked revving a reaction out of him. Maybe that's why I made him wait, why I'd repeatedly turn him down, because his anger turned me on.

"Fucking tease," he said spitting into his hand before pressing the head of his penis against my entrance. I took a deep breath in at the intrusion and obligatory pain that followed. He kept his eyes firmly glued to mine. He read me like a book, knew when I was ready and steadily buried himself inside of me.

I wrapped my arms around his neck and my legs clung to his torso. It was spontaneous, like inserting a memory device in a computer-connecting to a darker part of me I'd abandoned years ago. There was a time when I was exactly like him detached, calculating weapon. And every time I was with him, it was like a missing puzzle piece fell right into place. I felt whole.

He began to thrust, short strokes at first and then they became longer. When I started to rock my body in tandem with his movements, he knew I was ready for more. Soon he began to pick up his pace and our bodies would separate for a second before colliding again, where his torso met with my ass cheeks.

"Fuck, you feel so good," he growled between thrusts. This was unusual because he was usually quiet during sex, save for occasional grunts and sharp exhales. This time was different somehow. He was moving more than just my libido, the soul trembling look he was giving me only related the words that would never be passed between us.

This would be our last fuck in a while, maybe even forever. We were leaving camp for good. Once an agent reached their sixteenth year, that would be their last mandatory camp evaluation. At that point you would be ready for the real world.

I met him stroke for stroke, biting, kissing, and scratching every part of his body that I could reach. Like a beast, he pushed and pushed with the stamina only the physically fit could muster. My hands roved hungrily at every ridge, bump and crevice on his tight muscular body. From the contours of his ass to the hard planes of his abs, the body of a machine, the body of a killer. Like the blind reading brail, I was subconsciously creating a mental picture for myself. A souvenir of sorts, mentally branding his skin, his muscles, veins and feel into the deeper archives of my mind.

I'd waited so long, punishing, pushing him away that I had forgotten about my own needs. Now that he was rocking my body, I knew I wouldn't last long. Now that I felt him move inside me, I knew I had craved him all along and would crave him once he was gone.

I arched my back as the pure pleasure of his member inside of me drove me wild. He wrapped his hands around the top of my ass and pulled me close, pushed in deeper and breathed hard on my neck. I opened my eyes to find that he was already staring and waiting with sweat running down his forehead.

And the words that spilled out of his mouth echoed in the room and within my mind, "Feel this?" he huffed between strokes, "Feel me? No one else will ever make you feel like I do."




I stared numbly at my reflection as I buttoned up my shirt. I had that dream this morning and yet it still felt like it had just happened. I could still feel traces of his touch. But as luck would have it, I really didn't have any more time to think about that dream because my life was like a mosaic of one potentially traumatizing freak event after another. Current issue, the party that was starting downstairs.

Usually when I'm dragged out to one of these, what I was wearing was the least of my concerns. What always held the frontlines of my thoughts was how soon could I get back home and could I avoid sending any of my classmates to the ER.

My temper is almost always under lock and key in a fortified tower away from man, woman and high school douche-nozzles. But on nights like these, when the liquor is flowing and adolescent stupidity is heightened- I honestly believe I was constantly being tested.

But tonight was a little different. My thoughts ventured outside of the usual. I'd changed shirts three times already before settling on this last item. I was caught somewhere between something loud and sexy but look like I wasn't trying, or modest and dull not too catch too much attention. After all, I had successfully flown under the radar up until now and it was somewhat part of my mission to blend in. If this is what it felt like being an ordinary teenager, being unsure and second guessing yourself, then I should really work out why I was suddenly so eager to join this dysfunctional world.

Then again, I knew this bout of anxiety was justified. Out of the hordes of people crowding our house and puking on our lawn, there was only a single one that I had personally invited, and he was the cause of my wardrobe dilemma.

"You shouldn't go downstairs yet," Mason said sitting on my bed. I had forgotten he was in the room. He was nonchalantly tapping at his phone. More likely signalling the other delinquents that he couldn't stall me any longer. To his credit, he'd played his part very well, feigning such innocence I may have doubted his involvement in the shenanigans I was certain was brewing downstairs.

"And why's that?"

"He wants to surprise you. He thinks of this as your right of passage or something. Actually I think he used those exact words." He said running a careless hand through this thick brown hair. He stopped and tilted his head after seeming to mull something over.

"You look...different."

"Uhm, okay?" I said not really sure how to respond to that.

"No, it's a good thing. I like it"

I took that compliment at face value as him trying and failing to take my mind off what must be happening beyond that door. I moved for the door and he not so subtly got up to intercept me.

"You have nothing to worry about." As if cued, the distinct sound of glass breaking carried up the stairs.

"Probably nothing," he offered shaking his head.

Before I could form a response the door opened, "Dudes you need to come down, I want to do something before people get here," Justin said poking his head into my room. He took one look between the two of us before speaking in a manner that was so authentically him, meaning completely douchey.

"Looks like I was just on time. You were about to get chewed alive. Was he behaving?"

"Mostly," Mason answered.

"Ready to have the time of your life?" said Justin with a mischievous grin imprinted on his face.

"Or ready to end yours," I replied flatly walking out my room.

We followed Justin down into the kitchen to find that it was already occupied by maybe ten other guys. The space felt cramped which was odd since our kitchen easily worked for a family of six, but that was a testament to the sheer size the football players all present at the time.

I only recognised a couple regulars that came around the house but the others where nameless and don't believe for a second that did anything to help my distrust aimed towards my older brother. Why did he bring me here?

I was regarding the room with the suspicion of a detective at a police line-up. Most criminals returned to scene of crime, who could have played a part in what Justin had running down here? I refused to believe I was being paranoid. There were no limits to Justin's stupidity- none known to man that is.

"Most crucial part of a good night is the pre-game. Fuck this up and you might as well quit while you're ahead," he said hollering to the room at large. He was putting on quite a show.

He motioned to some guy in a black tank top who began to produce beer cans like a magician, seemingly out of thin air, and began passing them around.

"Gents, this is the man behind the night. My kid brother and future Olympian," he said giving me a couple hard pats on the back.

This scene was oddly reminiscent of second grade show and tell. Then realization dawned on me: This was Justin's world, where he flourished and ruled. I was never too concerned with the school's social dynamics to notice how he was revered but I thought I had a general idea. General wasn't sufficient to prepare me for what I was witnessing. Like a ringleader in his element he had the Midas touch, in an environment that otherwise seemed like it was filled to the brim with alpha male complexes.

"Hunter you have to drink. Even for tonight, c'mon," Mason said from over my shoulder. I was staring blankly at the outstretched hand holding a beer and making no efforts to take it.

"Stand back lover boy," Justin said before he got in my face and ventured to cross the barrier only older brothers could. "Listen here you little shit, you're not only drinking tonight but it is my brotherly duty to make sure you get hammered or I've failed as a big brother. Here," he said as he thrust the can in my hand and handed me car keys soon after.

I wondered briefly how long it took these two to think this ploy up. The whole good cop bad cop routine. I wasn't fooled. They almost had me convinced this wasn't an elaborate set-up from the get go but I saw right through their bullshit. What they didn't factor into their little equation would the rare but possible occurrence that I wouldn't be needing any encouragement.


It dawned on me then that I could also have a bit of fun at their expense. As far as my brother knew, I was a complete rookie to the party scene. I was his little brother who never got into any trouble or stepped out of bounds.

"What am I supposed to do with this?" I asked looking at the keys I had just been handed.

The crowd around us burst out laughing at my question. To get through tonight I'd opted to play dumb and let them humor me as they attempted to baptize me with cheap beer.

"Oh we gonna have fun with this one," one of the guys called out.

"Back off asshole, if anyone is force-feeding him alcohol it's me. Besides, he'd eat you for dinner," Justin warned.

They were making this too easy for me. I imagined this was how Jane Goodall felt when she was studying the chimps. I wondered how long it would take before they accepted me as one of their own. In truth though, I could see how one could live content as a simpleton, these guys gave zero fucks about anything of note. They were oblivious to the worries that plagued the average American. They were far too consumed with catching ball and chasing skirts. That's the extent to which their concern stretched. Stupid, but like I said, simple.

After some more banter and reruns of the now infamous cafeteria brawl, more people got all revved up at finding out that I was in fact the one that socked Keslin in the face and not my brother.

"Dude have you seen how crooked it looks?" one guy said before laughing, referring to Keslin's nose. I actually didn't know and I really didn't care but good to know. I hadn't seen said senior since the day he had made the mistake of punching Mason in the face.

"The game is shot gun. Punch a hole into the can and down. Simple. Battle royal format, winner moves onto next round." Justin said," We'll start you lightly, where the fuck is that light weight, Summers?"

"Fuck you Haynes. After I beat your brother. I'm coming after you, asshole," said a taller teen with a red baseball cap worn backwards.

"This is stupid."

"Don't be a bitch dude," the guy called Summers taunted. That's cute, was that supposed to rouse a reaction from me? Normally no, but as the saying goes, when in Rome...

I locked eyes with my first competitor and punched a hole in my can when they signalled we should and downed the contents of the can. I was by no stretch of the imagination a novice drinker, I was pretty certain it would take more than a couple beers to get me wasted.

It must have slipped my mind at some point that winning this game was more of a loss for the winner than anything else. My completive spirit won out. One after the other, I chugged and swallowed, besting all these `experienced' seniors.

By the time we finished, the kitchen was way more packed than I last remembered and I had lost complete track of time. Two hours had gone by and by now I had a good head rush going, more than I'd ever allowed myself before. Now I could look at this as a problem or my salvation. Tonight was about stepping out of my skin and getting down with my peers right? This served as step one to cutting loose.

I'd done more than enough to satisfy my brother `cause he let me go with no more than a solid pat on the back and went about talking trash with his rowdier than before friends.

My shirt was thoroughly drenched in beer so I had to hop back up the stairs to change for what I guessed was the fourth time of the day. I actually wanted to look presentable when I saw Ryan, not like one of the party goers had puked on me.

After a good pep talk and a different shirt, I descend the stairs ready to make the most of the night. The sound of the pulsating base is what struck me first. I could hear people shouting over each other and random wolf calls over the blaring music. This change had happened quite quickly, I felt like I had just left my room and entered a night club.

The house itself was packed. I could have sworn I was upstairs for all of fifteen minutes but the horde of people occupying the house since my departure said something different.

I took my first, proper look around at party guests. Several people, assuming most were from my high school had red solo cups in hand, swaying sloppily to the throbbing EDM baseline that was threatening to shake the walls off the house's foundation.

The gaps between the uncoordinated dancers were narrowing. Hips swaying and hand grips getting more suggestive. Timid minds getting bolder. All the debauchery you would expect at your standard high school get-together. In other words the ideal setting for my guilt free pass. Tonight I was just like every other co-ed in the room.


I turned to see a very excited Nate walk up to me," Man, did you come through or what! I knew your brother was popular at your school but this many people??! Out of this world, man," he said motioning to the room.

"Yeah, he sure is something," I said under my breath.

I'd never seen Nate drunk before. Come to think of it, I'd never seen my usually composed and in control captain anything but focussed. Then again, I'd never seen him outside of the gym before either. It was interesting to take note of, if not a little funny. I wasn't ruling out the possibility of me using whatever he says tonight against him.

"Oh, there's someone I want you to meet, this is my boyfriend, Jordan" I paused for a second because I was caught a little off-guard. Did he say boyfriend?

The blond haired teen extended his hand as soon as Nate introduced him, "Nice to meet you, great party you have here."

"I can't take credit for it. I didn't do anything really," I said. I was a bit unsettled by the way he was looking at me.

"Nice house too. Nate had wanted to have this at my house first but there was no way I could have this many people over."

I gave him a closed mouthed smile and willed this conversation to end soon. There was a good three second difference between a friendly gaze and outright staring. He was blatantly ogling me like the ninth wonder.

It didn't take Nate too long to realize what his plus one was doing. He gave him a not-so subtle shove that seemed to trigger what came next.

"What Nate failed to mention was how gorgeous you are!" he blurted out like he'd been holding his breath for a long time.

"Oh-kay, he's a little drunk," Nate said a little embarrassed. He couldn't possible blush at this point of the night since his face was already slightly red from all the drinking and whatever else he'd been up to tonight.

Jordan laughed at what Nate said as If he'd cracked a joke instead of pointing out the obvious, "Question?" he said getting instantly serious, "Are those contacts?"

"Alright. You've had enough. I'm gonna get him...away from you and everyone else," Nate said giving an apologetic smile before hauling his not so willing boyfriend away. He tried to put up a fight and complained uttering something about wanting to get to know me.

That was a bit weird, well at least now I knew what Nate's type was, although I had no idea how that impacted my life in any way. Moving through the house proved to be a bigger job than I'd imagined. The lethal cocktail of liquor and my new found notoriety meant that people felt like they could talk to me. I got numerous offers to dance, take shots or go somewhere more `quiet' from a girl I didn't know.

I stopped when someone pulled at my elbow, "Where have you been?" Tori asked. I turned in relief since she was the first familiar face I'd seen in a while. I was in a house full of strangers and I was beginning to get annoyed with our more presumptuous/persistent guests. I was being nice Hunter tonight and it was getting harder the more I began to sober up.

"I had to go change. Why? What happened?" I asked beginning to think the inevitable happened and Justin had cause a mess we wouldn't be able to clean up before mom and dad's return.

"Relax, it's just Mason has been looking for you," she said with an amused smile playing on her pretty face. I sighed, I really needed to stop expecting the worst of tonight and I guess my brother included.

"Oh my gosh, is that Hunter! He's so cute! Tori where have you been hiding him?" a random girl tagging along with my sister started yelling. She seemed so far gone. I cringed for the umpteenth time tonight knowing I was now a novelty among most in the crowd. I hoped like every other teen fad that after this weekend, my name and apparent claim to fame would be old news and soon forgotten.

"Lindsay, down girl," Tori laughed before turning her attention back to me. "He said to look for him once you were done with Justin."


The group of girls she was with successfully making me feel more uncomfortable than that pack of jocks I was ambushed by before. Somehow the heightened IQ made them more threatening meaning they could ask questions ergo wanting to make conversation. I backed away from them slowly like you would before a pride of lions then swiftly lost myself in the sea of bodies dancing to the beat.

I'd been pushing and pulling through the thick crowd of gyrating bodies to see that the back porch was much less populated. I was about to walk out there for a breather when a head of bright red hair caught my eye under the light.

Taking a closer look I began to realize I knew the tanned arms she was comfortably wrapped up in, as they not so subtly made out in the corner. For some reason that had caught me by surprise, it shouldn't have, I knew that they were a thing yet it still brought my night to a sobering standstill. Screeching tires and all.

I rationed it must be `cause of the PDA. I felt uncomfortable watching, like I'd intruded. I knew that was ridiculous because we were in an open, public space but it didn't change me feeling as though I walked in on something I wasn't supposed to see or more accurately, didn't want to. Like I was some creep voyeur type.

The odd thing about this situation was that I really didn't want to be there, yet I couldn't get myself to leave. It was like watching a car wreck. You don't want to see it happen yet you can't get yourself to look away.

And in that moment of conflict, I made eye-contact with the one person who had the ability to make me forget about it all.

"Ryan! When did you get here?"

"Not long, maybe half an hour. Thought I should allow the rest of the party to mingle with the host before I stole you for the night. You happy to see me?" he asked with his usual teasing tone.

I shrugged not trusting myself to speak. I didn't want to make myself sound overly eager. Something about him always made me feel a little off my game. Like he knew something I didn't.

"You gonna offer me a drink or would you rather we carry on checking each other out?" he asked. I'd realized then that the silence had dragged on for too long and I didn't use my opportunity to speak. The sole reason for that being I really didn't know what to say to him.

"Wait! I wasn't checking you out," I protested at the accusation.

"Really? Cuz I was checking you out," he said laughing at my outburst. "Are you sure you weren't doing the same? "

"Yes," I said figuring this was him getting a reaction out of me and I kept falling for it, "But I know where the beer is."

"Lead the way," he said gesturing with his hand.

I filled up our red cups and we sort of drifted to a less occupied corner of the room. We made directionless small talk as I tried to acclimatise to the internal turmoil this guy incited in me. I felt awkward around him because the pressure was back, after initiating the last kiss we had, I felt like I had set a precedence. One I wouldn't be able to match.

"Ya know, you never answered my question," he said leaning into my ear so we could hear each other over the music.

"Huh?" that somewhat caught me by surprise and I had to fight the urge to cough as I took a sip from my cup. Before that, we were casually standing by. Just watching the rest of the party progress along with future embarrassments our classmates would try to forget after tonight.

"The other night, before you kissed me, "he paused to take a drink and peer at me over the brim of his plastic cup, "I asked you if you were interested in me. You didn't answer."


Was this the time or place for this kind of talk? Yeah, I was no expert but I'm guessing the delectable surroundings of sweaty strangers making-out not a foot away from us and some mind numbing top 40 as background music wasn't ideal.

I started feeling claustrophobic like all these people dancing and talking in close proximity were listening in on us. He looked at me expectantly as a pregnant quiet stretched out between us.

"There you are!" a visibly drunk guy I recognized from the pre-game session in the kitchen sauntered over to us.

"Ryan, is it?" he asked to which Ryan gave a rather stiff nod. "Glad you made it, bruh," he then turned to me "I was ordered to find you"

"By who?"

"Your brother, he says this is really important."

This couldn't have been more convenient; at that very moment all I wanted was to get some air. Yet I was reluctant to accept the offer. I really didn't want to offend Ryan but at the same time I was prisoner in my own skin. I couldn't get the right words to form on my tongue.

"I'm kind of in the middle of something," I said meekly.

The guy looked at me like I had lost my head," You do know who your brother is right? I can't go back without you."

I rolled my eyes at the implied threat, or rather flexing of power Justin must have employed on this nameless guy. I was tied between the two.

"Go ahead," Ryan said to me looking somewhat dejected but being the laidback guy he was, he wouldn't let it show. He maintained his unaffected attitude and played it off like it was no big deal. I knew better though. I bit my inner cheek in what I could only describe as guilt.

"I'll come find you afterwards?" I asked not sure if he wanted me to after this tense air we had.

"Sure," he said with very little faith carried in that single word.

I followed the unknown guy into the kitchen where my brother was finishing up mixing a very foul looking drink which I had a feeling was specially mixed for me.

"I told you it was my big brother duty to make sure you got wasted tonight right?" he said approaching me with the rather tall-looking glass. Bright and luminescent colors swirled in the glass confines and the smell coming off it just promised instant death.

My first thoughts were, fuck you, I'm not touching that. Then I got to thinking about the last few minutes spent with Ryan. I had a problem, I couldn't let go. I was incapable of putting myself out there. I had always internalised my feelings and he wanted me to break that cycle, even if just for him, it seemed like an ocean to cross. Maybe some potent mix would be just what the doctor ordered.

"What is it?" I asked sceptically.

"It's your right of passage," he answered rather dramatically getting a couple shouts and whistles of encouragement from his surrounding ghoul army.

"You think I've never tasted a poorly mixed drink before?" I said almost laughing at my half-wit brother.

"Funny. No, I know you haven't tasted anything like this. Chuck bring it," he called and his equally arrogant best friend and bane of my existence came forth looking every bit as smug as my brother. I hadn't bumped into him since last Saturday and for that I was thankful, the universe hadn't turned its back on me completely. Sure, now I had to suffer his presence momentarily but you know-small victories.

"This is what mistakes and regrets are made of. The soul of the party. This is the ball buster, the panty dropper, this is the virgin ripper," he finished to loud hoots.

"All in one drink? I'm impressed," I replied barely hiding the sarcasm.

He laughed and looked at the surrounding congregation of about four other guys, all from his football team, "He's not a believer boys! We've all gone through this as initiation to the team and I've seen bigger than you fall. But luckily you have me to remind you of the all the stupid things you do after this. Now chug!"

"Chug, chug, chug..." echoed across the room growing in volume as passers-by joined in.

I could have walked, refused to participate in this ridiculous ritual but then I might have had a different kind of regret. That of what could have been. Yes this was about Ryan, like almost everything else I did that night. I wasn't prepared to quit just yet, before I really gave it a shot. I knew what I wanted, I just didn't know how to go about it because I'd never been in this position before. I just needed a little old liquid courage to step out of myself.

So chug I did.