Hello y'all. This is the second story I work on – the first one being Alex and Sebastian. I'll place the link for that one below.

Hope you guys enjoy!


A fellow reader made a playlist with most of the songs I've either used or will use in the A&S series. I've given him full control as to whether he wants a new channel for this story or just to continue on the original one.  If y'all want to listen to the previous one while reading the chapters, the link for it is this:


I will keep you posted if another link is created.

Also, please don't forget to donate to nifty here, without which we wouldn't have this collection of great stories!

Every story is free on here, so please let's keep it that way and donate, guys.



The Party

"If you don't hurry up, we'll all be late, dude!" I yelled at Kyle from the living room while I fiddled with my camera.


"I'm going! I'm going!" Kyle came out running from the restroom while fastening his belt. "Geez! You're worse than, Tay."


"Ha!" I laughed. "If I was her I would have already left your ass, man!" It's true. Tay was very adamant about punctuality.


I grabbed my keys before walking out and heard Kyle lock the door behind me. We had agreed to meet at my place after school and have Tay pick us up from there. As we made our way down the stairs, Tay honked the horn a few times until she had us sprinting towards her.


Being faster than Kyle, I beat him to the car and managed to ride shotgun. Kyle was very vocal about the unfairness of this all the way to the address Diana had given us.


Finding the address was the easy part. It was finding a parking space that was a bitch. Apparently, Diana had invited a lot more people than I had thought. The more the merrier, though.


"Nice place," Kyle muttered from the back seat referring to the beautiful white brick house in front of us.


"Yeah. Her dad's like a doctor or something," Tay said after parking her car.


We walked up her driveway and knocked on a large brass door where Diana greeted us, plastic cup in hand, in a knotted up denim shirt with a navy blue skirt. The top of her chest and black bra visible in a mindful but flirty way. I decided that she could never look bad in anything.


"Tay! Darren! Thanks so much for coming!" She leaned over and gave us both a hug, planting a kiss on my cheek before addressing Kyle. "Welcome. You must be Kyle," she smiled. "Come on in, guys. Drinks are in the kitchen and outside by the bar. Make yourselves at home." With a small spin that made both her dress and blonde hair twirl, she turned around and allowed us in.


"Holy shit," Kyle whispered behind me. "She's fucking gorgeous, D."


I couldn't help but laugh as Tay overheard him and slapped his arm. "She's also our host so keep it in your pants, Kyle," she whispered through gritted teeth.


We made our way around Diana's house until we found the place drinks were being kept. Kyle took out two beers for him and me and a Smirnoff for Tay. We made our way back to the living room where we bumped into Ileana and Alyssa.


The two girls shrieked as they saw Tay and hugged her when she made her way towards them. After a few minutes conversing with them, I excused myself to get another beer and, if I was lucky, run into Michael. I was not lucky.


Luck, you fickle bitch.


For the next hour or two, Ileana and Alyssa introduced us to many of Diana's guests. While most of them were older friends of hers, there were some ex-Emanon members present. Varying ages from 18-23, most of the ex-members were friendly and likeable. It became apparent that even after graduation, many of the Emanon members stayed in touch and were only a call away. Still, after two hours, there was no sign of Michael anywhere. Surely, he wouldn't miss Diana's party, right?


After saying goodbye to Leo, a 19-year music student I just met, I made my way to the back of the house where Diana said the restroom was. When I was met with a four-person line, I decided it would be best to find a different restroom. After failing to find another, I ran into Diana again who offered me the one upstairs.


"Are you sure?" I asked, worried about being too forward.


"Don't worry about it," she smiled as she took a sip of a different, red cup. Although her cheeks were flushed, she looked like she was enjoying herself. "It's totally cool. It's just up the stairs - second door to the right."


I thanked her and made my way upstairs as fast as I could. Finding the right door, I made my way inside. After the wonderful feeling of release only a good pee could bring, I washed my hands and began making my way back to the first floor. As I closed the door, I heard a sound coming from the room across the small hall.


Curiosity got the better of me as I made my way towards the sound coming behind the ajar door.


I could only see the back of the guy sitting on what I assumed was Diana's bed but I could hear the sound of him viciously pressing a controller's buttons. Focusing on the television in front of him, I realized he was playing one of my favorite games - Call of Duty. With his back still to me, I couldn't place who the guy was. All I knew was that he was pretty good.


"Do you want to play?" he asked, turning to look at me from the edge of the bed.


I didn't know what surprised me more: him knowing I was watching or the fact that the mysterious gamer turned out to be Michael. Not knowing how to properly reply, I shrugged. "Yeah, okay."


Michael shot me a warm smile and handed me a controller.


Trying not to look too excited, I made my way closer to him and, taking the controller in my left hand, I sat at his side. I didn't even notice the cigarette until he placed it to his mouth.


Michael noticed me looking at him and, keeping the cigarette in his mouth, he asked, "Want a hit?" He took the cigarette out of his mouth and offered it to me.


Not wanting to be one to say no, I took the cigarette in my hand and placed it to my mouth. Taking a small breath, I let the smoke fill my mouth and choked as I tried to swallow the smoke down.


"Shit," I laughed through my coughing fit. "Sorry, I've never smoked before, dude."


"Don't worry about it." Michael's chuckle filled the room and seemed to drown out the sound of the party going on outside. "You ready?" He asked, motioning to the game on the screen.


"Hell yeah," I smirked and handed him his cigarette back.


After a few minutes of me having his back on the campaign we were playing, I heard the familiar chuckle again. "You're pretty good at this game, Rookie."


"I should be," I said through gritted teeth shooting my way through another horde. "I played it all the time with my brother." Before I finished my sentence, I managed to shoot down an enemy sniper with one of my bullets.


"Good fucking move, Darren!" Michael laughed out loud as the enemy sniper's body fell to the ground from a building's second story.


"Thanks," I beamed at the sound of my name. "I didn't know you knew my name, Michael."


Michael looked at me and feigned being insulted. "Of course I know your name, man!" He took one more drag of his cigarette before shooting down a rogue enemy soldier. "You're a member of the team now." With a final shot, I took down the last of the enemy soldiers and a Game Over screen announced our win. "And a bloody good one at that!" Michael took a swing of a beer resting on the floor to his left. He offered it to me as a form of congratulations and I took a drink.


"So," I said after wiping my lips with the sleeve of my shirt and passing Michael the bottle. "Why are you up here alone, man?"


Michael smiled like he was waiting for me to ask him this. "It's so boring at first, ya know? I like waiting till everyone is having a good time." On that note, he took another sip of his beer and followed it with a cigarette drag. He offered me another drag of his cigarette but this time I refused. He chuckled and passed me the beer instead. "What about you? Shouldn't you be down there with your girlfriend?"


It took me a while to understand who he was talking about. "Who? Tay? No," I laughed. "No, we're just friends. I've been single since summer started." I added, not knowing why.


"Well, you two would make a nice couple ... or maybe even you and Diana." Michael gave me a sly grin as he mentioned Diana's name and casually hit my arm.


"Diana?" I blushed. "Why would you think that?"


Michael laughed and nearly spat out his drink. "Just saying, ha-ha."


"Out of everyone, I would have thought you'd be the one going out with her," I added, again, for no apparent reason.


"Oh, we're just friends, too," he smiled.

"See!" I laughed and drank from his beer. "I'm not the only single guy with attractive girlfriends!"


"Actually, I do have a girlfriend," he said drinking the last of his beer.


"You do?" I asked, equally curious and disappointed.  


"I do," Michael smiled, thankfully not able to read my thoughts. "She's out of town with family this weekend. She goes to Veterans Memorial, actually."


"That's - that's really cool," I nodded to showcase just how cool I thought it was.


Michael only smiled and took the last drag of his cigarette. "Anyways, we should probably head down there; I need another round."


Although I tried to stick with Michael, after a few minutes, I lost him on the first floor. Deciding not to look needy, I made my way outside again and headed for the pool.


I found Tay, Kyle and Chris talking together near the outdoor fireplace. Diana really had a nice house, I thought. Before I joined them, I snapped a picture of the three of them and smiled at the way it came out.


It was about another hour or two in, after a few of the guests had left and the ones that had stayed were already more drunk than sober, that I ran into Diana and Michael again. The two were talking to themselves, sitting on the grass and facing away from the party. From behind, their silhouettes presented themselves as monochromatic yet there was something about them that called out to me. Realizing that Michael held a guitar on his lap, I decided to snap a picture I could possibly use for the yearbook.


Diana must have heard the small click my camera made as she sat up straight and turned around. "Darren! My little protégé!" From the color on her face I could tell she was enjoying her party's refreshments.


"Sorry," I said, embarrassed to think they might suspect I had been eavesdropping. "It was just a Kodak moment, ya know?" I shrugged and shot them a bashful smile.


"It's fine, Rookie," Michael called out and motioned for me to join them.


"Come sit with us," Diana patted the grass to her left and I cautiously walked over and sat next to her. "What do you think of the party so far, Little D?"


I would have blamed the misunderstanding on the alcohol if I hadn't heard Michael's chuckle despite his weak attempt at covering it.


"What are you laughing at?" Diana slapped Michael's arm but that only caused him to laugh louder. "What's wrong with `Little D'? He's like a mini me!"


I decided to let the easily misunderstood nickname slide and laughed along with Michael. "It's great. This is really fun. Thanks for inviting us, Diana."


Before Diana could reply, we heard someone that sounded like Tay scream out followed by the sound of a loud splash. Knowing full well what the sound of Kyle laughing sounded like, I turned back to Diana and Michael. "If I was a betting man, I'd bet my bottom dollar that Kyle just pushed Tay into the pool."


Diana's eyes widened in surprise. "You think she's okay?"


I laughed at her drunk expression. "Yeah, I think she's okay," I said.


"I should go check on her." I helped Diana to her feet. "Thanks. I need a re-up on my drink anyways," she said, matter-of-factly. I couldn't hold back a chuckle as, instead of heading towards the sound of Tay's original scream, Diana headed in the direction of her outside bar.


"She loves a good drink, that one," Michael said from down where he was sitting.


"I can tell," I said as I saw Diana reach the bar and take out a bottle of purple Hpnotiq from a cabinet. "Did you want another drink, Michael?" I asked as he got to his feet.


"Nah, man," he grunted. "I'm fine." He bent down and raised a glass of a dark liquid to his mouth. After a long sip he pulled back and said, "Whiskey and coke," referring to his drink. "I do want to do one thing, though."


Without realizing it, I gulped and wondered if I really wanted this. I'd never hooked up at a party with a guy - well, with anyone, really. What would I do? I knew this involved giving and receiving but I wasn't sure if I'd be okay being at the receiving end.


My mind raced feverishly as I began to think about everything that could go wrong.


Before my nerves could completely drown me, Michael held his guitar by the neck and offered it to me. "Come on," he smiled. "Sing with me, Darren."


I'd be lying if I said I was disappointed. Still, I couldn't help but let out a sigh equal parts relief and embarrassment. My eyes looked from him back to the pool of drunk teenagers to my right. "Are you even sure you're in any condition to sing, Michael?" I said, clearing my throat and reaching for an excuse to avoid embarrassing myself further in front of him. "Besides, I'm not much of a musician, remember? I'm you guys' journalist, after all."


"You're more than that, man," he smiled. "You're the winner of my annual Call of Duty tournament!" I already knew he wasn't sober by how the color of his cheeks had now gotten a darker shade of pink but I couldn't help but smile at the childish way he said this - like it was a title that actually existed or even mattered. "But if you want," he said as he placed his guitar on his hips. "I'll start. I'm sure you know this one." Before I could ask what he was talking about, I was interrupted by his singing which, if I had to rank, was nowhere near the worst ways I've been interrupted.




"Don't take this the wrong way.
You knew who I was with every step that I ran to you.
Only blue or black days.
Electing strange perfections in any stranger I choose."




Hozier's Someone New was definitely a song I knew. Hell, it had been playing on the radio for so long at one point that everyone, including myself, had gotten tired of it.


Despite this, hearing the words come out of Michael's mouth as he sang sent shivers down my spine. His voice and guitar were loud enough for only me to listen, yet some people nearby stopped what they were doing and turned to pay attention.


"Would things be easier if there was a right way?
Honey, there is no right way."



"Come on, Darren," he said as he strummed a circle and stalled. "Keep going," he nudged.


I looked around and saw that, although Michael had managed to grab people's' attention at first, only two or three were still looking in our direction.


With a half-hearted sigh, I surrendered myself to the situation.



"There's an art to life's distractions.
To somehow escape the burning weight, the art of scraping through.
Some like to imagine,
The dark caress of someone else.

I guess any thrill will do."




As I sang, a drunken smile broke out of Michael's face that made me feel more comfortable in what I was doing.


Everyone was getting drunk and having fun, why not me?



"Would things be easier if there was a right way?
Honey, there is no right way."




As easy as Kyle pushed Tay into the pool earlier, I was getting pushed closer and closer into Michael. Not literally, of course, just - there was something about him that, when he sang, made me want to get closer and closer to him.


I couldn't place my finger on it but there was something in the way he was looking at me back that made me blush and turn away before I continued to sing.


"And so I fall in love just a little, oh, a little bit every day with someone new.
I fall in love just a little, oh, a little bit every day with someone new.
I fall in love just a little, oh, a little bit every day with someone new.
I fall in love just a little, oh, a little bit every day with someone new."



When I turned to look behind me, I was met with five or six pairs of eyes looking at me from in or near the pool. Among them: Chris, Tay, Diana, and Kyle.


I gave them an embarrassed smile as I turned to look back at Michael standing in front of me. Before I could take my next breath, Michael opened his mouth and continued the song for me.



"I wake at the first cringe of morning,
And my heart's already sinned.
How pure, how sweet a love, Aretha, that you would pray for him."


Even as he sang, the strange feeling in my gut got more pronounced. Maybe it was all the alcohol I drank in the past two hours but I was beginning to feel the warm blood rushing to my face. I'm sure it was only the alcohol causing this - surely, it had nothing to do with me singing with Michael.


I didn't have time to ponder on this too much as, little by little, the people closest to us joined in singing the chorus of the song.


It was a very popular song, after all.



"'Cause God knows I fall in love just a little, oh, a little bit every day with someone new.
I fall in love just a little, oh, a little bit every day with someone new.

I fall in love just a little, oh, a little bit every day with someone new.
I fall in love just a little, oh, a little bit every day with someone new.
I fall in love just a little, oh, a little bit every day."


It took only two repetitions for a majority of the people near the pool to sing along but, at the end, it was Michael's voice that permeated through the chorus of voices.



"Love with every stranger, the stranger the better.
Love with every stranger, the stranger the better.

Love with every stranger, the stranger the better.
I fall in love just a little, oh a little bit every day with someone new."




Michael ended the song to a small round of applause and turned back to flash me a wide smile.


Well shit, I gulped as my eyes connected with his and a jolt of electricity coursed through my spine.


All I trusted myself to do was smile and shake his hand.


I think I have it bad, I thought.