Defining Us (Book 2 of Discovering Me Series)

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Chapter 22: The Sky Might Fall - Kid Cudi

[Milo]

My friends joined us in the hallway shortly after Izzie did. I could feel her studying me, but I kept my eyes from settling on hers once we pulled away from each other. “We are staying at the beach house tonight.” I announced.

“Isn’t she leaving tomorrow?” Morgan piped up.

“We are leaving in twenty minutes.” I deflected. I walked off in pursuit of my room.

As I walked away, I heard Izzie explaining my behavior to ease their confusion. It made me walk faster. I did not want to know what they had to say in response to her meltdown.

I packed a duffle bag and headed over to Izzie’s room. I knocked on the door. She opened it and gestured for me to come inside.

“Milo, I need you to talk to me.” She pleaded.

I sat down on her bed with my bag. “What is there left to say? She pretty much laid it all out there in front of all of you.”

She sat down beside me and gave me a hug. She didn’t say how she wanted me to react or pressure me into revealing all of my thoughts. She simply held me. She allowed me to be the one that decided when we separated.

“I love you.” I kissed the side of her face.

“I love you too.” She rubbed my back.

“I’ll pack quickly.” She told me when I finally released her.

I nodded in understanding, offering her a small smile. She packed what she needed in about five minutes. We collected the others and went downstairs. I had the valet bring two of the cars out of the garage.

“Ry, drive that one.” I pointed to the other car as I opened the trunk of the one I was taking.

“Seriously?” He cried in disbelief.

“You did not crash when I let you test it. Are you sober?”

“Completely. I just follow you?”

“Have Elle call Iz if we get split up” I dropped my bag inside.

“Will do.” He nodded his portion of the group over to his car.

Izzie placed her bag beside mine. Together, we loaded Nick and Morgan’s as they took their seats in the back.

“Are you okay to drive?” She asked me gently.

“Yes, I need the distraction.” I checked that her fingers were removed and shut the trunk.

She slid her arms around my neck. “I’m right here. We all are.”

“I know.” I leaned down and kissed her.

I twirled my key ring on my finger as I walked over to my side. I buckled in, checked my mirrors and took a deep breath. I felt a little better when we were on the open road. I had to multiple things I needed to juggle -- I kept an eye on street signs, made sure Ryan and I stayed together, and made sure to drive as safely as possible.

“How long are we staying here? I didn’t bring all of my clothes. I’ve vowed not to do laundry all summer. If I run out, I will start fashioning shirts into underwear.“ Ryan informed me as we walked into the house.

“We won’t be witnessing that. We should be leaving tomorrow or the day after it. I cannot be there while the dust is settling.” I admitted.

“Blood is thicker than water.” He draped his arm across my shoulders.

“That is the exact opposite of what you are trying to say.”

“No, the meaning flipped over time. It originally meant something to the effect of ‘a bond I’ve made with someone I’ve shed or shared blood with is stronger than one I have with someone I’ve shared the womb with.’ I’m kicking it old school.”

“What are you doing?” I looked over at him.

“My job as your wingman.”

“I thought I was yours.”

“Two way street. You’re stuck with me; get over it.” He pushed me away playfully.

I laughed. “Thanks.”

We walked inside and made ourselves comfortable. We staked claims on our rooms before eating a light dinner. After that, we decided to go outside. We took blankets, bags of marshmallows, bars of chocolate, graham crackers, and cooler of soda, water, beer, and a bottle of rum. There was a firepit built in the sand. We sat down on the logs surrounding it. We let Finn and Sami do the honors of starting the fire.

“We should play ‘Truth or Dare’.” Ellen proposed.

“This getting dangerously close to a slumber party.” Sami replied, adding wood to the blaze Finn started.

“Fine. What about ‘Never have I ever’? You get to take a drink every time you’ve done something. For every ten things you have done, you have to do a shot.” She tried to persuade her with a smile.

“Now, that’s a game I’m willing to play.”

“Who wins? The person who drinks the least amount or the most?” Morgan asked.

“That’s the beauty of it. It’s all about how you look at it. I, for one, will be upset if I’m sober and everyone else is buzzin’.” Ryan answered.

“Same.” I took a drink from my bottle.

Izzie took my free hand into hers and intertwined our fingers. I looked over at her and she pecked me on the lips.

“Can I put my arm around you instead?” I requested.

She nodded, letting go of my hand. I put my arm around her waist. She scooted in close.

“And we have fire.” Finn took his seat beside Nick.

Sami went to sit beside Morgan.

“Who’s up first?” Nick looked around at everyone.

“I can go.” Elle volunteered.

“Um, let’s see...never have I ever...driven over the speed limit.”

The only person who didn’t have to drink was her.

“I took my drink, but I’m calling bullshit on that.” Ryan announced.

“I’m a model driver. I’ve never been pulled over; no wrecks. I got perfect marks on my test. I’m even great at parallel parking.”

“You’re driving home. Ry was pulling formula 1 shit on the drive here.” Sami told her.

I laughed and nodded. “You tried to pass me several times.”

“You handed me the keys!” He cried in his defense.

“I was unaware of Elle’s driving record.”

“I call next.” His eyes locked on mine. “Never have I ever sprained a girl’s ankle.”

Everyone laughed as I took my required sip. We began going clockwise to ensure we wouldn’t forget whose turn it was later.

“Never have I ever made love.” Morgan went.

When Nick took a drink with Ryan, Izzie, Ellen, and I, we all looked to him in shock.

“Nicky got laid?!” Ryan cried, voicing what we were all thinking.

“Yes.” He blushed.

“Who?” Elle asked.

He rubbed the back of his neck. “I don’t know if I should --”

“TELL US.” Sami growled.

He mumbled the response. I couldn’t hear it where I was sitting because of the waves and the crackling of the fire.

“What was that?” Finn cupped his ear and leaned into him. He repeated his response for him.

“BEX!” Finn yelled for our benefit.

“Nice work, Buddy.” Ryan patted him on the back on his way to retrieve supplies for smores.

“Never have I ever worn pink.” Sami went after we finally calmed down.

Finn and Sami were the only ones who didn’t have to drink to that one.

“Not even as a baby?” Ellen stole the golden marshmallow from Ryan’s stick.

“I asked my parents. They said they liked yellow better and decided not to shower me in pinkness. I am eternally grateful.”

“While still angry at them for your name.” Ryan teased.

She broke a graham cracker in half and threw it at him.

“Now, now, Samilla. Let’s be nice.” He continued.

She reached over Morgan and hit him. We all laughed.

“It’s my turn. Um...never have I ever...” Izzie pondered. “Kissed a girl.”

“Finally, something I can drink to.” Sami drank alongside Nick, Finn, Ryan, and me.

“Never have I ever been born in The United States.”

Everyone drank except for Nick and me.

“Where were you born?” I asked him curiously.

“An American military base in Germany. My Dad’s an officer.”

“Do you have any pressure from him to be a soldier?”

He nodded. “He’s a little disappointed I’m not athletic and prefer to play music, but he’s come to accept it. We even looked at colleges with music departments last summer.”

“That’s awesome.”

“Is your future all decided?” He asked curiously.

“Yes. There are only minor aspects I get to control.” I took a swig of my beer.

“It’s your turn, Nicky.” Ryan snapped us out of our side conversation.

“Right. Never have I ever forgotten the name of someone I’ve hooked up with.” He replied cheekily.

“What definition of ‘hook up’ are we using?” Elle inquired.

“All of them.”

Ryan narrowed his eyes at him and drank alone.

“Prince Playboy, I know I’m not the only asshole.” He looked to me pointedly.

“I remembered their names at the time!”

“Still counts. Drink up!” He looked to Ellen. “That does count, right?”

She nodded. “You forgot them. Nick never stated when.”

“DO IT!” He returned his attention to me.

I narrowed my eyes at him and drank.

“Never have I ever failed a test.” Finn went.

The only people who didn’t have to drink were him and Elle.

“Dude, are you serious? Elle studies like all the time. You hardly do your homework.” Sami cried in shock.

“Most of it is tedious busy work that hardly factors into our final grades. I only do assignments that are worth a large number of points and consistently ace my tests. I don’t have a 4.0, but what I do have is decent.” He explained.

“Angie’s upset with him for working far below his potential.” Nick chimed in.

“Stop talking to my mom!” Finn shoved him.

“You won’t tell her how you’re doing, so she calls me. She likes Sami.” He shrugged in his defense.

“WOO!” She cheered. “This is the first time I haven’t scared away someone’s parents.”

“Good one! Never have I ever scared away someone’s parents.” Ellen used that information for her next turn.

“You’re their dream -- smart, beautiful, respectful -- it’s sickening.” Sami joked, drinking.

Morgan, Elle, and Nick were the only ones exempt.

As the game went on, I made the conscious decision to drink after each thing was said, even if I hadn’t done it. My goal was to get drunk. It was my only shot at sleeping through the night. Izzie caught on when I drank when Ryan said, ‘never have I ever had a period’. Highly doubting that I menstruated, she made me switch to water. I had consumed three shots and roughly four beers by that point. She kept someone on cooler-watch duty to ensure I didn’t resume drinking away my feelings. We kept playing our game until we became antsy and unable to remain seated. We put music and started dancing, playing in the sand, and putting our feet in the water. It was easy to forget with all of them around.

We decided to share rooms to remain in the same area of the house. Ryan and I shared. Iz was with Elle. Sami and Morgan were together, leaving Finn and Nick to partner up. Unable to sleep, I got out of bed and put on my glasses. I put on the sweatshirt I packed. I placed my phone in the pocket and crept out of our room. I drank two shots of rum before grabbing two beers from the fridge and going to the beach.

The full moon cast everything blue. I took a seat in the white sand. I brought my knees to my chest and wrapped my arms around them. I was drunk enough to be hypnotized by the crashing waves. My phone started to vibrate. I removed it from my pocket and saw that it was Iz calling.

“Hello?” I swayed.

“Where are you?” She whispered.

“Outside.” I took a sip of my drink.

“Outside?”

“Yes.”

“Milo.” She snapped.

“Isabella.” I slurred.

She sighed heavily. “The beach?”

“What would I do on the front lawn?” I hiccuped.

“Keep it up and see what happens!” She hung up on me.

I resumed drinking without skipping a beat. I heard the French doors open, but I kept my eyes on the water. She walked up to me. She silently extended her hand to me as she remained standing.

“Yes?” I glanced over at her.

“Come with me.” She requested, wiggling her fingers.

“No.” I returned my eyes to the water.

She removed my beer from my hand.

I held my hand out. “Back!”

She took my hand and attempted to yank me to my feet.

I tried to snatch it back. She poured it out instead of complying.

“Why did you do that? It’s like -- it’s like you can do whatever you want when you’re sad. I just let it go -- I do. You don’t. You just -- you keep trying to make me talk about stuff. Stop it!”

“Don’t come at me with that. You literally tried to beat down my door in New York. Other times, you get frustrated when I don’t talk to you. The way you look at me is as bad as being in my face. I’m trying to be supportive!”

“I didn’t ask you to come out here!”

“I’m not leaving you like this, so watch how you talk to me!”

I ignored her and opened the other can. I tilted it back and poured all of it down my throat. I wiped my mouth off with the back of my hand.

“I don’t like you like this.” She sat down beside me, crossing her arms.

“You heard her.”

“Have you talked to your dad?” She broke the silence we were sitting in.

My head started spinning to the level of nauseation.

“Has he tried to get ahold of you?”

I handed her my phone in response.

She looked at the missed call notifications that littered my screen. “He’s probably worried sick.” She replied gently.

“Not now, okay?”

“I’m going to call him just to tell him where we are.”

“You don’t list --” I burped from the excess carbon in my stomach. I leaned over to the side to vomit. She rubbed my back as she remained on the phone.

“Hi, King Vincent. I just wanted to let you know that we are at the beach house. He’s um -- he’s not feeling his best right now.”

I motioned for her to hand me the phone. I spit to get the disgusting taste out of my mouth and cleared my throat. “I’m fine.” I croaked.

“You are drunk.”

“You don’t --you don’t know everything.”

“Put Isabella back on the phone.” His tone was stern and sharp.

I shoved it in her general direction. She spoke what sounded like gibberish as I resumed getting sick. I stripped out of my shirt and laid down on my stomach when it was finally over. She crouched down beside me and shifted me to my side. I kept my eyes closed.

“Milo, -”

“Mmm?”

“Will you come inside with me?”

“Hot. Want the water.” I made no moves to get closer to the sea.

“There is air conditioning indoors. I cannot let you go in the water, I’m sorry.” She stroked my hair.

“Then my pants. My legs hot.”

“Then let’s go inside.”

“Nu-uh.” I was being lulled to sleep by the waves.

“I didn’t know about the drinking.” Her voice cracked.

“Don’t hate me.”

“Now I’m scared to leave you alone. I don’t want to get that phone call. What if I wasn’t here?“ She sniffled.

“Please - please don’t cry.” I lifted my heavy eyelids.

She pushed my hair out of my face. The moon bounced off the tears streaming down hers. “I love you, but this can’t happen again. You lashed out at me for trying to help. I can’t handle that. You know that. ”

“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”

“No more drinking while this is going on.”

“Okay.”

“I will remind you of this in the morning. Elle and I were sharing a bed. What was your sleeping arrangement with Ry like?”

“Couch.”

“Want to lay down?”

I nodded.

She helped me up and guided me inside. She got me a glass of water and made me drink all of it. She cleaned me up in the bathroom and helped me brush my teeth. I collapsed on the couch. She moved me to my side.

“You here.” I patted the empty space beside me.

“Do you feel like you are going to be sick again?”

I shook my head. “Want you.”

She lifted the blanket and climbed in. I put my arm around her.

“I’m sorry.” I closed my eyes and relaxed.

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