Michael loved Prince like a brother.
Even though the latter had slept with Adaline, and had also profusely apologised for committing the cardinal sin as he called it. Michael had forgiven him instantly. After taking a swing at his face, of course. But Prince didn’t mind that.
Prince was just glad that Michael was back.
Sitting in the dimly lit bar, Prince was fucking ecstatic to have Michael by his side. It had been long, too long since they both had a drink together. Just like old times.
The black-haired boy next to Prince was unusually quiet. It had been five whole minutes since he was sitting on the barstool and staring at the drink in his hand. Five minutes since Prince was waiting for him to say something, anything.
Deciding he couldn’t take the silence any longer, Prince banged his glass on the wooden counter of the bar. The loud sound forced Michael to snap out of his reverie and glance at his friend who was scowling at him.
“I didn’t bring you here for you to mope around.”
Michael let out his first smile of the day. He took the glass in front of him and gulped the liquid contents in a single swing. He turned to face Prince.
“Alright, bastard. Tell me what you’ve been upto.” Michael started. “And leave the part where you slept with my ex.”
Prince narrowed his eyes at Michael but was glad to see him grinning at him, instead of punching him with his fist.
“I don’t think I’ll go to college.”
Michael raised his eyebrows. “Why not?”
Prince shrugged. “What’s the point? I know I’m gonna take over the business. Why waste years in college for some degree I don’t even need.”
Michael slowly nodded his head. He knew how much Prince loved his family business, and how much he longed to take over after his father. So it made sense that he’d want to do it sooner rather than later.
Two fingers and the bartender refilled their drinks. Slowly sipping it, Michael let out a smirk.
“What about girls, huh? You ready to settle down?”
Prince looked at him with an unimpressed look. “I literally slept with the devil’s spawn last week.”
Michael didn’t speak for some time and Prince cursed himself for bringing up that again. But then his best friend turned to look at him with... vulnerability.
“Prince, I...” Michael trailed off. Prince gestured the bartender for another refill.
Michael inhaled. Sip. Exhale.
Prince waited patiently for Michael to overcome his inner conflicts before he started speaking again.
“I almost forgot about her, you know,” Michael let out a humorless chuckle. “A year was almost enough for me to forget about Adaline fucking West. Almost.”
Prince shook his head at him, knowing exactly what was coming. This situation felt similar to him, as if it happened yesterday.
The boys were sitting in their usual spot at Gin&Joint. Five boys huddled together at a single table which felt almost too small for them. Despite this being their regular hangout place, they all were rarely here together, one or two of them were always missing. Usually it was Wesley, who would have to settle a drug deal. Or sometimes Jack, who would leave the bar as soon as he would come, with a girl (sometimes two) on his arm.
Today, however, was one of the rare days where all five of them were sitting together and enjoying a drink, without fighting. There were no snark comments from Michael about Jack’s lifestyle of a Casanova, or Wesley’s urge to take a hit, or Sebastian’s gloating about winning money in some bet.
Today, they were just five underage friends having a drink on a Saturday.
Jack looked at Sebastian and grinned. “You owe me twenty, jerk.”
Sebastian raised his eyebrows. “For what?”
Jack shrugged with a smirk. “The carpet matched the drapes.”
It took Sebastian a minute, but realisation dawned over him and he cursed. “Shit, you slept with Lana?”
Jack grinned wider, showing his perfect white pearls. He felt proud. “After a whole year of playing hard to get, she finally let go last night.” Jack shrugged again. “The chase was worth it though.”
Sebastian shook his head at his friend and pulled out his wallet from his pocket. He threw a twenty-dollar bill at Jack who quickly plucked it from the table.
Prince saw the exchange and chuckled while Michael shook his head at the two of them. Wesley was smoking a blunt but his smirk showed that he too, had listened to their every word.
Michael started to speak. “When will you grow a pair and actually date a girl for once?”
Jack looked over at the boy sitting next to him and snorted. “I’m not like you, Mike. I’m not the kind of guy girls introduce to their parents or make wedding plans with.” He sipped his drink and continued. “They come to me for a good fuck. And I give it to them.”
Michael winced a bit at his choice of words but decided to let it go. Michael loved sex as much as any other guy, as much as Jack. But he didn’t believe in sex without feelings. Lust without love. The concept never made any sense to him.
“Speaking of good fuck,” Sebastian grinned at Michael. “I saw you flirting with Adaline West in the library today. Anything going on between you two?”
Prince raised his eyebrow at Sebastian. “What the fuck were you doing in a library?”
But Sebastian ignored him as he continued grinning at Michael. Michael sighed as four pairs of eyes looked at him with anticipation and interest.
“Nothing’s going on between us. She shuts me out every time I talk to her.”
“Damn, I’d give anything to get into that.” Jack lit a cigarette and blew out smoke. He grinned and waited for a reaction out of Michael, who gritted his teeth.
Wesley spoke for the first time in a while.
“Adaline was my first.” He smoked his blunt nonchalantly.
Sebastian gaped at him.
Somehow, Sebastian could not imagine the closed off guy in front of him ever having sex. He always thought drugs was Wesley’s way of pleasure, not women.
Wesley snorted at him.
Jack whistled and laughed. “Preston, my man, how was it?”
Wesley shrugged. “Would have remembered if I wasn’t so damn high that day.”
Sebastian directed his next words at Michael. “But you’re not serious about her, are you?”
Michael exhaled, recovering from the fact that the girl he was pining for since days had slept with one of his closest friends. Despite the fact, he shrugged.
“I don’t know. I guess I’ll ask her out some day.”
Jack rolled his eyes. “West is a pretty face with an even better body, but her head’s too far up her ass.” Sebastian nodded his head, agreeing.
“She’s not that bad.” Wesley chimed in. Jack quirked his lips into a smirk and looked at him.
“No girl seems bad when she’s riding you, Wes.” Wesley only rolled his eyes at him.
Michael looked at Prince. His opinion was the only one that mattered anyway.
“What do you think of her?”
Prince drank the remaining of his drink and looked at his friend.
“When girls like Adaline West want to be left alone, you should leave them the fuck alone.”
“What are you trying to say, Michael?”
Michael sipped his drink again. He’s going to have a hell of a headache tomorrow, Prince thought.
“She fucking stood there, looking at me with hurt in her eyes. Hurt, Prince. As if I betrayed her, as if I gave up on her.”
Prince pushed Michael’s glass away when he went to reach for it again, earning a scowl in return.
“Adaline West is not worth having a hangover for.”
Michael kept silent for a long time.
“I told her I loved her.”
Michael looked at him. “A year ago, I told her I loved her.” He reached over to get his drink. “She fucking packed her bags the next day.”
Prince didn’t say anything. He waited, waited with a tug at his heart, for Michael to finish talking.
“And then I see her standing in front of me, with those same eyes and hair and lips and I... I forget about every single thing she did to me, every single time she broke my heart, every single time I bought shit from Wesley to forget about her.”
Prince still kept quiet.
“She told me she’d ruin me, she fucking warned me.”
Prince still stared at his drink.
“I should have left Adaline West alone when I had the fucking chance.”