Ever since they’d gone to get Sonic, Nico seemed a bit
distant. He would talk to Will if he saw him, but he’d find a reason to leave.
At first he didn’t mind. They were plausible reasons. He had to get his
homework before his next class, or he needed to get his charger, or even
because there was a show about to come on that he loved.
It wasn’t until he’d run into him while he was smoking that
he realized it was on purpose.
He saw Nico at a table outside. He’d just sat down and he
was pulling out a carton of cigarettes. He was alone, not really looking at
anything in particular. He didn’t have a book or a laptop or any form of
homework. It was just Nico in his leather jacket and scuffed boots with a newly
lit cigarette pressed against his lips.
He walked over and nudged his shoulder. Nico looked up at
him and offered a smile. “Hey,” he greeted.
“Hey. I thought you were trying to quit?”
Nico let out a long stream of smoke, away from Will and
shrugged. “I am. Today’s a cheat day.” Will hummed. “Baby steps,” he shrugged.
He scratched his head and took a deep breath. Will nodded
and figured he had no right to tell him how to quit. “Well, hey, I was going to
watch that new movie that just came out, the one with the obsessed boyfriend or
something. Did you want to go with me?”
Brown eyes, so dark they looked like onyx, flickered up to
him. He furrowed his eyebrows slightly and sniffed. “I have an essay due
online, I can’t. But thanks.” He flicked his cigarette then put it out on the
ash tray. “I think I should work on that. I’ve been procrastinating here for a
few hours already.”
Will raised his eyebrows and clenched his jaw. He only
hummed. The lie hurt, and it made him wonder what other lies Nico might have
told him. The worst part was that Will knew he would’ve believed him if he
hadn’t seen Nico walking and sitting down no more than ten minutes ago. And
he’d put out a new cigarette just to get away.
Will seemed a little tense. Nico thought he was bad in
social gatherings, but Will looked even more ready to bolt than he ever had. “You
okay?” he asked.
“Yeah. Yeah, I am. I just… parties bore me, and I really
don’t know what to expect with this one.”
“You’ll be fine,” Nico said, patting his shoulder. He nudged
him in and people immediately began greeting him, much to Nico’s surprise. Once
they’d gotten past a group of people, Nico raised one questioning eyebrow at
him. “How could you not like parties when so many people seem to know and like
you?” he asked. Will grunted in response.
“Hey, you guys made it!” Leo said. His eyes were glazed over
already. “Come on, Nico, there’s a whole bottle of Bailey’s waiting for you.”
Nico bit his lip. He smiled and nodded. “Something tells me
you already drank it.”
Leo laughed and shook his head. “Nah. I know it’s your
favorite.” He turned to Will and smiled wider. “Hey man! Good to see you at
another party! Feel free to get whatever you want.”
“I thought this was Percy’s party,” he pointed out.
Leo snorted. “He’s so shit-faced right now. Or close to it.”
Will glanced at Nico worriedly and Nico frowned. “He’s fine. Me and Jason and
Grover are helping him.”
“But you’re drunk too,” Will said.
Leo hiccupped and rubbed his neck. “Friends get drunk with
friends,” he muttered. “I need another drink.” He turned away and Nico shook
“Don’t worry, I won’t do that if you do decide to drink a
lot.” Will scoffed and glanced around wearily. “If you didn’t want to come you
didn’t have to, you know? I wouldn’t have minded.”
Will’s cheeks turned pink and he rolled his eyes. “Come on,
what do you suggest I have first?” he questioned. Nico laughed and shook his
head, nudging Will into the living room where there was a bar with all the
drinks. “I won’t get drunk.”
“Okay,” Nico said with a smile. “Then we’re going big.” He
grabbed a bottle of vodka and poured a shot into a red cup. He handed it to
Will and laughed at his confused expression. “That’s a shot. Trust me you won’t
be able to handle even a full fourth of the cup.” Will narrowed his eyes and
sniffed the cup.
“Jesus, is that pure alcohol?” he exclaimed. Nico laughed at
his expense. Will grimaced, took a breath, then tossed the cup back. He started
coughing after swallowing it and covered his mouth. “Nope. Nope, that was
“It’s horrible to everyone,” Nico said. “The only people who
drink it are people who really hate themselves.”
It was supposed to be a joke. But then Will asked, “What
were you drinking the day you got drunk?”
Nico’s smile melted away and he looked away from Will and at
the bar. “Vodka,” he answered. Before Will could say something, he pulled him
along and gave him a smile. “Come on, you have to learn to have fun at