NA (Connor Murphy x Reader part 1)
I HAVENT WRITTEN ANYTHING IN A WHILE AND I HAVE A BUNCH OF FICS IN MY DOCS SO I KINDA FINISHED THiS FOR YALL also should probably add trigger warnings: DRUGS, abuse, angst, swearing, mentions of porn
So it got a little out of hand. Or, rather, I… got a little out of hand. The point of the matter is; however, it wasn’t ever supposed to happen, it wasn’t ever supposed to go this far. It all started when I got my stupid wisdom teeth out. So, in reality, it wasn’t my fault. I should have never been prescribed that painkiller. The doctors should have given me something else, like something a little more over the counter to stop the pain for the fucking meager holes in the back of my mouth.
But instead, I got Vicodin. And I got the big bad A word to them. And I couldn’t stop taking them, even when I ran out. And that is how my Vicodin addiction started. Because of a stupid goddamn dental visit.
And a stupid dental visit landed me in narcotics anonymous, due to my late-night visit to the hospital. I actually ODed at my job at the Barnes & Noble. The last thing I remember is falling back while I was restocking the children section. How classy. That was weeks ago, next Monday marking my one-month anniversary. And I’ve been going to these meetings about three times a week after school, in the next town over in fear of someone from my school seeing me. And I fucking hated it. I felt dumb, I felt washed out.
I looked at the people surrounding me in the little “pray” circle. It’s almost funny to look at everyone in NA, meaning it’d be hilarious to see this particular group of people holding hands, praying to the lord, and singing kumba-fucking-ya if we all weren’t thinking about how the only thing that made us enjoy being alive anymore were drugs, and how we haven’t felt anything since. I did learn one thing though, Addiction seriously did not discriminate. I mean, of course you got your so called typical drug dealers, with neck tattoos that they definitely did not go at a real tattoo parlor and their ratty OBEY snapbacks paired with their Osiris shoes that didn’t belong in 2017. Then, right next to them would be the worn out middle aged men who were painfully bored with their accounting suburban lives, and the last good time they had living was that one time in business school where they did a line of coke off some overly too hot for them girl’s stomach who, mind you, was only there for the free drugs, and here they are 15 years later, bodies let go and hairline receding thinking about the days before they peaked and when they had sex more than twice every couple of years and didn’t cry after. Next followed the sorority girls whose family was too loaded for their own good and their once-innocent daughter had just travelled down the wrong path. But that girl sitting in the chair spreading her legs at the new kid, who if I had the guts, I would have tried to get his attention too. She was giving him that seductive ‘meet me in the bathroom after’ look that made it hard to ever imagine her being
I mentally scolded myself for thinking that. I didn’t know if I was jealous because this new kid was cute, or because I was a prude. The only time I got fuck was metaphorically by Vicodin. Subsequent to that girl would be another young girl, who would still be in high school if she didn’t drop out. She got pregnant, and I think she needed money to raise the baby, so she did what she had to do. And the drugs followed her after. Then, there was the pill popping mom who was trying to just lose weight, and the coke loving frat boy who is going to turn into the peaked-in-college middle aged balding man sitting four chairs over, and the kid who accidently OD on Adderall when trying to study for finals to keep his grades up so he wouldn’t lose his scholarship, and then there is me, the pain-pills chick. Maybe we were all stereotypes now that I think of it. But then there was the New Kid.
All he said was what he was required. His name and why he was there.
“I’m, uh, Connor and I was busted with weed at school so they are making me come here.” He said, as if it was the most agonizingly uninteresting thing the entire universe. Like talking about hermaphroditic sea barnacle’s chemosensory bristles was more riveting than talking about himself. I noticed a few people rolling their eyes, because weed was seen as a non-abusive drug to most of them who literally would suck a dick or two in order to get a dime bag of heroin. Prescription pills were just a little bit above that, I mentally noted that he got at least two more people rolling their eyes at him than me. I didn’t think that though, I mean sure, some drugs are more addictive to others, but all drugs were bad, I guess. And maybe if weed wasn’t addictive, it sure as hell could be abused. New Kid seemed to brush it off so coolly, but I wondered why he had weed at school in the first place.
The thing about the New Kid is I can’t fucking figure out what’s with him. He has long ungroomed hair that still somehow looked presentable, and he wore all black. He looked like the typical emo kid, there had been a dozen of him in here before, which instantly uninterested me. I don’t need another boy in my life who thinks he has it the worst, that no one could ever understand him. Oh, woe is he. But he wasn’t
they all had a trait that separated him from the rest. They were all over-emotional, over sharing, and wanting to hear themselves talk. But this kid, just sat there. Not moving, not talking, I wouldn’t be surprised if he wasn’t breathing. I can’t believe I am saying this, but he wasn’t like the others. I actually didn’t understand him. And it bugged me to my core. Reading people came easily to me, people were supposed to be predictable. So, what was so special about this ‘I look like I haven’t showered or slept in a week but I still look better than you” kid. He pissed me off before I even knew him.
I couldn’t help but stare at him as the others were talking about how hard it was to merely look at cough syrup when shopping at the grocery store, or how when out on walks, they know the shady looking guy at the old playground on 5th and his friends definitely sold something. And whatever something was, they wanted and could get with ease. The sorority sister couldn’t keep her eyes off him either, which bothered me too. Even though she was one-dimensional, she was beautiful. Beautiful in the way that she could flirt with guys with a single brush of her hair, or a bat of her eye, or even by the spread of her legs. I heard from Carrie, the teen mom, that she already had sort some of sexual encounter with the majority of guys there, and how then proceeded telling me how hard it was for her to get asked out. The Sorority Sister, her names Reagan, probably after Ronald, was hot. Making me feel subpar. Mediocre. Plain. Ugly. The ways guys look at her, pine over her, is something I’d never get to experience.
“God, I could go for some Vicodin.”
Everyone shot their head over at me, making me quickly and severely uncomfortable and aware. Aware that cute New Kid was also looking at me, but not in the way I wanted to. I then became aware that I am the one who said those words. I merely whispered that sentence, how is it that literally everyone heard over the middle-aged man’s spiel on how he missed college.
Amidst the silence, a laugh derived from someone. The tiniest chuckle, that if someone would have been talking you wouldn’t have heard it. It came out of New Kid’s mouth. As if he was just exhaling, but the corner of his lip was raised upward. We just stared at one another, him giving me a cunning smirk and me looking at him wide eyed and mortified. He looked too good.
“Maaaan…” drawing the a’s out, “I could really go for some coke right now too…” the frat guy announced, causing a cackle from the pill popping mom, who added in missing taking 5 times the recommended diet pill dosage. The chairperson looked petrified as the others started to join in laughing. I couldn’t help but to smile, biting my lip at the damage I did to today’s session. I looked back over at the New Kid beside me. He was still in the second position he made over the whole course of the meeting, staring at me, his small closed smile not faltering. I looked away faster than I could sprint, which wasn’t very fast, but you get the point.
So, maybe NA wasn’t as bad today as it normally was. The meeting was adjourned once everyone finally stopped laughing and stopped putting in their two cents with their humorous stab at what drugs they missed. Everyone left smiling, their addiction seeming not as substantial like it felt every other day. We all felt normal. I got momentarily bitched at by the chairperson, Wendy, telling me it’s hurtful to make jokes about drugs in meetings, especially jokes containing my longingness for them. But I couldn’t even care. I let Wendy’s words flew in one ear to another, as I watched New Kid, the boy who smiled at me, get into a grey car parked outside the buildings doors.
The next meeting came around, and i spent a little more time in front of the the mirror than i should have.
I didn’t look pretty, but i looked presentable, and I tried not to look as miserable. New Kid was going to be there. How ridiculous…
I felt dumb even getting slightly excited over it, I always do this shit. I see a person who i think is cute, and all I then think about is how cute they are. I need a hobby, no, I need a life. An exciting one. One that doesn’t feel like I wake up just waiting to go back to sleep and for the day to be over.
Today, though, I actually wanted to go to NA. My mom had to drop me off, taking me to the 7/11 to get me a slushee as a treat because she was going to be late to pick me up. But I could care less about her being late, that was a usual thing. I was worried about New Kid seeing me getting dropped off in my moms car. I mean, mostly everyone got dropped off, to ensure they would actually come. Hell, even New Kid got dropped off, I saw him getting picked up last time, but I was still embarrassed.
He was there before me today. I lost my breathe and confidence as i saw him over at the coffee counter, watching intently as the keurig brewed out a steaming stream of black into his styrofoam cup. I made myself walk over, turning on
. It’s harder than it seems.
“Hey New Kid.” i decided to say, choosing to say my made up nick name instead of his real one. His eyes peeked over at me, then back to his coffee, and finally back to my face, turning about 30 degrees to face me a little bit more.
He seemed… off. Somehow even more aloof than two days ago.
“Hey.” he said, staring at me, as if he wasn’t really there.
I brushed it off, peering at him take the container of sugar and pouring a large sum in. “Do you want any coffee with that sugar?” i joked, he stayed stoic, but shoot back.
“You are drinking frozen corn syrup right now.” using his eyes to point at the slushie in my hands. I take a sip, leaving the straw dangle on my lip, as if I were trying to make them appear poutier as I spoke.
I tilted my head. “It’s cherry. I’m getting my daily fruit intake.” Connor let out an pleased exhale like yesterday, causing a smile to come to my face. There was an ache inside me, a wanting for this kid to like me. A longingness for him to at least be the slightest bit impressed. I bit my straw to keep my elation under control. I wondered if he thought I was clever. Or witty. And since my physical appearance wasn’t much, I wondered if he was the type of guy who cared about who a person was, not their exterior. Then, I mentally sucker punched my mind, thinking how absurd I was being. I just met him.
“I’m not sure that’s how it works…” he took a sip of his coffee, not bothering to put any milk in. “What’s the nutritional value I’m getting?”
“Hydration. It’s brewed with water. Water cleanses toxins. You’re cleansing your body.”
He scoffed again, “I think the coffee grounds cancels that out. The sugar definitely does…”
I went to say something, but I noticed his eyes were red, and not like puffy crying red. I peered in them intently, causing him to shift awkwardly under my stare. I think his tense movement gave him away, his scent wafting over to me. He smelled like weed. I knew it. And he knew I knew it.
“Jesus…” I quickly dug around in my purse, looking for a bottle of perfume or something that could mask the smell. Twilight Woods is gonna have to do. I started to spray him nonchalant, “You can’t come to fucking NA meeting high!” I whispered, aggravated by his stupidity.
He tried lying: “I’m not high.”
I deadpanned, “You realize the type of people you are talking to? You’re at a fucking church where meetings for people who are addicted to drugs come and congregate. We can sniff out drugs better than police dogs. Nice try, new kid.”
“What the hell are you spraying me with?”
Ass Saver, bath and body works newest scent. Now grab your caffeinated liquid sugar and try to look more sober.” I wanted to reach out and drag him to his chair, but I thought it might be weird touching him. So, I just took the lead.
No one even noticed. Connor didn’t seem worried at all, but I was a quiet mess. I anxiously scratched at my thighs. But no one said a thing. Once the meeting was adjourn, I wanted to get out of there. I got outside and sat on a bench as far away from the door, paranoid the chairperson was going to ask if I thought Connor was high, paranoid she might plainly ask if i knew all along Connor was high. I doubt that Wendy even knew but the possibly made my stomach hurt, feeling like someone was trying to lacerate my stomach open from the inside. Someone did approach me, I didn’t move my head to look. I felt frozen.
“Slushie girl.” It was Connor, he must of been trying to meet my nickname for him with one of his own. He sat down on the bench beside me, I noted how far away he sat. I guess that answers my question if he thinks I’m attractive. I am not only hopeless, I’m daft too.
“New Kid.” I nodded, still looking forward. He put a strand of hair behind his ear and then immediately untucked it, leaving it hanging.
“Um… thanks for the
r spray…” he said hesitantly.
I smiled softly at the use of my word, “No problem…” But there was a problem. I wanted to yell at him for smoking pot before the fucking NA meeting. I know we don’t get drug tested, unless you’re on probation, but it was such a dumb thing for him to do. If he would’ve been caught, he would’ve been fucked. But then I asked myself why he did it, and that reason was probably more valid, and possibly too personal.
He paused, expecting me to say more. I was just too drained for a conversation. “I smell like the Macy’s perfume department.” All I could do was let out a small hum, he must have gotten peeved at the fact that my half of the conversation wasn’t being held up. I could tell he usually didn’t do this. “Are you waiting for someone to pick you up?” There was irritation in his tone, but he was trying to sound considerate.
Oh, god. I was going to have to tell him I am waiting on my mom. It’s not like it mattered anymore anyway. “Yeah.” Neither of us said anything. Connor hands were in his hoodie sleeves, and I could tell he was playing with the hem inside of them.
His leg started to shake. “Well, do you want a ride or something?” He asked, regretting his aggression.
“No, it’s fine. My mom just stays late on fridays so-”
“I drove today, I could give you a ride. I owe you.”
“You don’t owe me anything. The girly perfume probably drew move attention to you.”
“No. I feel like perfume was foreseen. I’m a guy who paints his nails so it’s wasn’t out of the ordinary.” His hands slipped out of his hoodie, his sleeve still coming down to his knuckle. God, it was a hot ass day to wear a hoodie. And a black one at that. I smiled, though, at his nails. I didn’t notice them ever before.
“No, I live in the town over…”
“It’s on the way.”
“There’s multiple towns over in multiple directions, New Kid.” I teased.
“Like I said, it’s on the way. Plus, your mom won’t have to pick you up today. I’m not doing anything else.”
“Seriously, I don’t mind waiting-”
He caught me off this time, too impatient, “Do I have to make it more obvious. I want to.”
I opened my mouth to say something, anything. But a blush rose to my cheeks, giving me away. I looked anywhere but his eyes, and nodded in agreeance. He got up, not really waiting to see if I was following behind him. He just knew that I was.
If Connor doesn’t think that I am cool, I definitely think he is.
I got in the passenger side, the scent of weed hitting me instantly. Connor started the car, rolling all the windows down and turning the AC up the whole way.
“Sorry.” he muttered, apologizing for the weed. I brushed it off.
“Your car’s really nice.” I felt subpar in it. Actually, scratch that. I usually felt subpar. I just felt gross and poor. God, he’s gonna see the shithole I live in. Is it too late to back out?
“It’s not mine.” he simply said, putting the car in drive. I stared at him in disbelief. I wanted to ask whose it was, but it was pretty obvious that it was one of his parents, and he left it smelling loud. I don’t think one of his possible teenage druggie friends was driving an Audi. Unless said-friend was doing really well in the pseudo-pharmaceutical business, of course.
There was awkward silence. Painfully awkward. The type of awkward that made me hate myself for being too awkward. I couldn’t even think of conversation topic ideas, because the phrase ‘i am awkward’ ran and ran and ran through me head, like an alarm clock at 5:30 in the morning. Connor didn’t seem to mind the silence like I did, I could tell he probably didn’t talk much anyway. But I was uncomfortable, more nervous than anything. I think he sensed my discomfort, deciding on starting up a conversation.
“You don’t smoke, do you? Or, um, did you? Because really, I am sorry for the… scent.”
I shook my head, “Uh, nope.” popping the p and clicking my mouth, “Prescriptions were my maker…”
“Oh, yeah. The vicodin joke. That was funny. I mean, not like funny in the sense th-”
“Oh, its fine.” I made it weird. Shit, I always make it weird, “ I’m, uh, fine now.”
“That’s good… I was surprised when I saw you there.”
I was taken aback, thrown of by his demeaning comment. “What’s that supposed to mean? Because I don’t look like I popped Vicodin?”
Connor was thrown off now, “Wait, what?” his eyes darted back and forth from the road to the dash, then they widen. “Oh, fuck, that’s not what I meant-”
I cut him off, I was pissed. “Connor, I know maybe you just sit there during these meetings. That they are a waste of time for you, and only the pathetic, lowlifes could be stupid enough to be able to take anything out of it. Because that’s exactly what I thought when I first went. That it was for morons, but I fucking learned shit from it. And I learned that drugs don’t target a certain type of person, they can fuck over anyone. Just… take me back to the church or stop anywhere-”
He cut me off. “No! Jesus Christ, listen to me for a damn second. Fuck! I didn’t mean you don’t “look the type’. I go to fucking Barnes & Nobles. Where you work. And I’ve just seen you there, so I was just surprised that I saw someone I knew, well… recognized there.” He was heated, but it seemed like more with himself, he started to calm down when I started talking again after a minute of silence.
I was embarrassed, I can’t believe I just overreacted in front of him like that, “I’ve never seen you before at Barnes & Nobles…”
“I never go to your register.” he confessed, trying to brush it off.
Before I could think, I asked: “Why not?”
Connor then felt awkward, I could tell he was thinking, stalling before pulling out onto the road, giving himself time so he could brush off his delayed answer due to the fact he was focused on driving. “I don’t know. You’re lines are longer. You’re my age…”
“I’m your age?” Why did I keep pressing. No, I knew why I was pressing. I wanted to see if he didn’t come to me because maybe he thought I was cute. It was pathetic. But I just couldn’t stop my diffident self.
“Kids my age are weird.” I deflated at his response. This is why I don’t get my hopes up. That meant he thought I was weird, great. He interrupted my internal pity-party. “LIke, weird as in judgy, mean. I literally do not talk to anyone my age.”
“I feel that, when I am out in public I can’t look other teenagers in the eyes.”
“Hm” he hummed in fake agreement, it sounded so distance, like that definitely wasn’t what he meant. I wanted to ask, but if he wanted to expand, he would have.
Another awkward silence, due to my great conversing skills. He turned onto my street.
“This is me.” He pulled up to my house just in time. I got embarrassed again. My house looked so, dingy. Hell, this car we were in probably costed more than my whole estate. I awkwardly tried to open the door before it was unlocked, prompting Connor to unlock it for me, following it with an apologize. “Uh, thanks. A lot, Connor…” He looked like he wanted to say something. But instead, he closed his mouth into a tight line, smiling half-assed at me. He waited until I got in my house, it taking a little longer than it should because I fumbled around with my keys. I appreciated it though, him waiting. Though I was too aware he was watching me intently from behind. He probably noticed too much. He probably noticed my unspectacular body, how my house was small and run-down. How my grass needed mowed. He probably noticed every little fault I notice daily. I wanted to take my mind off of all these thoughts swarming around in my head. But I can’t do that so easily anymore all by myself.
It was the third meeting Connor was at. The third meeting was when people either stopped showing up, or they were here to stay. Or as Wendy liked to call it, it was picking between our death or living. And I guess Connor was apart of the latter. I was pleased, for selfish reasons. Third meetings also meant something else. Sponsorship. Basically, that meant you pick someone out of the group, who’d been there longer than you who was in recovery and clean, to be able to call, or text, or hang out with when you had
. This made me even more excited, again for pure self-serving reasons.
I went over to the coffee counter, cleaning up the mess everyone else left behind. But really, I did it so Connor could come up to me after.
“Slushie girl…” There’s my cue. I turned, meeting his eyes were mine. He looked bored, but I noticed his ears were red before he untucked his hair. He was pinching his strap of his green messenger bag. Was he nervous to ask me?
“New Kid.” I walked a little closer to him, closing the distance a little bit. Cool, Charming (Y/N) was coming out.
“This is like really fucking dumb, and whatever. And you can say no, I don’t really care. But you’re the only one who I actually have had a conversation with, which I think is progress in itself. God, it’s so dumb I have to ask-”
“Connor.” I decided to use his real name, “If you’re asking to be your sponsor, yeah sure. I don’t mind.”
“Okay… cool.” he quietly said.
I smiled, “You know, I would have been pissed if you didn’t ask me…” Was I flirting.
“Oh, really?” He hummed. Wait, was he flirting back? “It was a tough pick. It ultimately came down to you, sorority girl, and that accountant guy.”
“Reagan would have loved it if you picked her.”
“She’d probably eat me… “ I laughed a little too hard at his joke.
“And I feel like with Tom, anytime you’d call him, he’d just end up talking about how much he misses business school and cocaine. It wouldn’t really aid you in any way, shape, or form.”
“Really, you just won by default.”
I sneered, “Jeez, thank you? I feel honored truly.”
“You should.” There was a moment we both paused, just kind of looking at each other, beaming. Well, Connor just looking more alive than usual, so beaming for him.
“Uh…” I shook my head while biting back my smile, “I can give you my number, or something.”
I crinkled my nose. “Shut up and give me your phone.” He complied, unlocking and handing it over. I noticed he didn’t have many contact, but I just continued typing my number it. It would have been really freaking rude to point that out to him.
He let out a small snicker, “Shushie Girl.” He read, “I like it…”
I like you, i thought, but I said: “I thought it was fitting.”
“It is… It is.”
“Um, you can call me whenever. Or text me. I’m usually free too, other than when I’m in school or at work. I won’t answer my phone there, but I can always text with you. But I don’t really sleep that much, so if you really wanted I could meet up with you at some places just to talk.”
“I probably won’t need to talk.” He told me, deflating me a little bit. He must of noticed. “…But i’ll keep a mental note of that. Um, thanks.” His phone buzzed. He scowled, “I have to go. My… uh, ride is here.”
“I’ll walk out with you, my mom is probably here too.”
We walked out in silence, there was a grey car parked outside the entrance like last time. But this time, I saw the driver. It was a girl, our age or even a little bit younger. My smile fell, I quickly looked away and b-lined for my mom’s car. Was that his girlfriend? I am so dumb! God, I am literally that dumbest person on this planet. Not only am I stupid for liking him, and flirting with him, if that pitiful excuse of flirting can even be qualified for that, but to think he may have liked me. That’s why he said ride, instead of my girlfriend. He didn’t want to make a bigger fool out of me than I already did. He pitied me, for Christ’s sake. Of course he has a girlfriend. Every normal, attractive person does at our age. God, I’m a fucking idiot. I am so fuc-
“(Y/N), are you okay?” my mother asked, noticing my watery eyes, and upset facial features.
Was I being ridiculous? “Yeah, I don’t feel well.” I lied, tricking my mom into buying it. She went on about her day at the diner. And how she didn’t want to go back. I zoned her out, not really feeling good enough to take in other people’s issues when my own were flooding my mind. It was selfish, but then again, so was I.
Connor wasn’t lying when he said he probably wasn’t going to call. Connor had made no contact over the phone with me over the first weekend. Or the weekend after that. We talk briefly before and after our meeting, probably just to pass the time for him. And anytime the chairperson said some bible-shit, Connor and I had this unspoken telepathic conversation consisting of eye rolling, squinting, and brow raising. Though, I was hoping I would get a text at least. Not that I should have even expected it. He literally told me he wasn’t going to. But for some reason, I kept looking at my phone every couple of minutes, waiting for a text from an unknown number. Or… a call. It was 2 am, a newly born Monday, and I was up late feeling bad for myself. Hell, maybe I should call my sponsor.
It was exactly 2:01 when I got a mysterious number calling my phone. I almost brushed it off, not wanting to get my hopes up, but the first three digits were my area code, it was too late for my hopes at that point.
“Hello?” I answered timidly.
Speak of the Devil. “Why are you still up?” a rough voice asked, like it was the first time he opened his mouth to speak in a while.
He corrected me, “New Kid.”
I would have laughed, but something sounded wrong. “You okay?”
“Yeah…” he lied.
“You wanna talk?”
“No…” he lied again.
“Weird, you’re calling me and you don’t wanna talk. You know how phonecalls work?”
“Can we…” he paused, “Can we mutually just sit on the phone in silence?” Was that supposed to be a joke?
“Do you wanna sit in each others presence in silence instead?”
“God, no.” I swear I heard him sniffle. “I’ll have to brush my hair.”
“You don’t ever brush your hair.” I then added: “New Kid.” at the end of the sentence. He didn’t say anything, he was so silent for so long. I opted to not say anything either. My eyes darting back and forth on my ceiling, chewing on my thumb nail, wondering if he was doing the same. “You can talk to me, Connor…”
“I’m outside your house…” he blurted out. I shot up, springing my body up and going to my window, tearing open my curtain to see his car out there, parked.
“Give me a minu-”
He cut me off, “No. Don’t come out here.” I put pants on as he said that, avoiding the mirror before I could talk myself out of going.
“Too late,” I hung up my phone and I opened my front door and trudged to his car. His head was resting in his crossed arms on the steering wheel. I knocked gently on the window. “I’m here.” He didn’t move for a couple of seconds. I watched his back fall up and back with each breath. He finally hit the unlock button. I slide in the car as his arm returned to the same position as before.
“I told you not to come out.”
“And I had already put pants on for you.”
“I’m not going to talk to you.” he mumbled into his sleeves.
I shrugged my shoulders, “You don’t need to. But you need to drive about 3 blocks down, make a left, follow that road for another 3 blocks until we reach a mystery place I am taking you too.” Connor took a minute to move. He sighed heavily, taking his hand and putting the car in drive. He turned his head away from me when he lifted it up. I noticed he dragged his jean jacket sleeve over his face. He was crying. I was shocked to see Connor in this state. I didn’t think the boy felt any emotion. He slowly pressed on the gas, allowing the car to move forward. He kept his left hand on the wheel, using his right to turn up the music, I assumed so we didn’t have to talk. I wanted to reach out to him, like before in NA, but he switched hands on the wheel, now using his left arm to prop his head up. He made it to the left turn, picking up speed for the first two blocks. I didn’t tell him to slow down, though when the speedometers reached 60 in a 25 mph neighborhood, I wanted too. But he slowed down quickly when he saw our destination, not having to ask twice if this was the place or not. He just knew.
“The fucking 711…” he muttered, I swear he almost laughed. He parked in a handicapped spot, I also didn’t point that out because there weren’t going to be any cops out this late worried about it. I got out of the car first, letting Connor follow.
The lights were harsh. Damn, they must have changed the bulbs. I probably looked really bad considering I didn’t have any time to prep my outer self before leaving, well minus putting on pants. I knew this store like the back of my hand, but I headed for the only important thing it had. The slushee machine. I pulled out two of their biggest cups. Connor strolled up behind me after I attached there lids. His eyes were puffy, looking around at the employee at the counter to the drunk guy in the back of the store. They were red, but this time not from smoking.
“I used to come here a lot. When my dad would have his day with me, like once every two weeks. And he’d always let me get the biggest slushee. And I’d mix all the flavors together. We called it a tornado. Hah… Um, and I could never finish it, so by the time he took my back to my mom’s house, the slushie would be melted and it’s be the the grossest color of brown you’d ever seen.” I joked, the story kind of coming out sadder than I expected. “But I’d always get the biggest sugar rush and my dad and I would go play in the park or go to the mall and jump on the mattresses. So, we are going to drink every last drop of this melting pot of slushees, and stay up until sunrise and forget we hate our lives right now, okay?”
Connor wasn’t sold, I wasn’t really either. But when I handled him his cup, he took it. So maybe I did help a little bit. Maybe I’m doing something.
We mixed every flavor, Connor tried to skip over the mountain dew one, but I made sure he got all of them. I told him to pick out his favorite candy bar, he picked m&ms. I told him that wasn’t a candy bar, and he said he didn’t care. I paid, even though he was annoyed and told me he had money, I ignored him. And we went on our merry way.
“Okay. That was our first destination. Now to our second. We have to backtrack. So go back the way we came and turn right after five blocks. I’ll tell you when to stop after that. Connor took a sip of his slushee, showing me compliance. I sat back, comfortable on the passenger chair. My butt was really warm. “Are these seats heated?” I asked, taking a sip of my drink. Connor swallowed, furrowing his brows and grimacing.
“This is disgusting, (Y/N)…” he kept drinking though. My face heated up. That was the first time he even said my real name. I was starting to think he didn’t even know it. “But yeah, it’s my dads car. I don’t know how to turn them off.”
“It’s nice…” I said, probably sounding like a weirdo. He purses his mouth, holding back a smirk. I wondered if he enjoyed hanging out with me as much as I was enjoying his presence. Even in the dark, I could see flashes of his profiles whilst passing streetlights. He had a prominent jawline, I hadn’t realized that before because his hair was always untucked. But he must have been comfortable enough to put his hair behind his ears without noticing. His hair had cute little curls at the end of it. They were untamed yet still hung nice around his face. I was almost jealous. He was so pretty without even trying. And even when I tried, I was just mediocre.
I almost missed our stop, too infatuated in Connor’s face. That would’ve been embarrassing if we passed it. Having to explain why I was so distracted.
“Here, Connor. Stop.” He slowed down outside a park, pulling off the road.
“We gonna fucking play on a playground.”
I shifted, unbuckling, “Shut up. Just come on you buzzkill…” I skipped over to the pirate ship, feeling the sugar starting to set in, climbing to its deck and plopping myself down. Connor lazily followed behind, his mouth connected to his iced drink. He sits down next to you, his leg accidentally touching mine. He moves away fast. I laid back, peering up at the stars. Connor didn’t, however. His eyes were glued on me, as if he was trying to read my mind. Hopefully, he can’t do that.
“How’s this for a high?” I joked about our slushies.
“Why are you doing all this?” he asked, his voice sounding so small.
“‘Cause I’m your sponsor. Lay down and look up.” he didn’t budge, just staring at me a little while more. “Connor, stop looking at me and look up.”
Connor quickly looked away, feeling embarrassed I called him out on that. He scooted over and laid down. We just sat there, in comfortable silence. Looking at the stars. After a while, I couldn’t hear Connor breathing, so I looked over. The boy had his mouth closed tightly, and tear stains down his face with fresh ones coming out.
“Connor…” I went to grab his hand, but he jolted away, almost too fast.
“Don’t.” his words were harsh.
“I sat up, peering at him with wide eyes. Careful with what I was going to say.
“You need to talk to me. I’m not going to judge you.”
He brought his hands over his face, “This is why I didn’t want you to fucking come outside. Because I knew you’d pull this type of annoying ass shit. I wanted silence, (Y/N).” he hissed out, muffled under his arms.
“Silence doesn’t help.” I tried pulling Connor up to look at me, but he grabbed my wrists, gripping tightly.
“I don’t fucking care what you think is going to help me. Don’t fucking touch me, don’t fucking talk to me. Don’t fucking look at me.” he practically scream at me. I was so scared. He let go, looking down at my wrists and pulling his hands into fists. He was scared of himself. He jumped up, backing away, “Fuck.” he choked out. “I’m so fucking sorry.”
I sprang up too, walking surely to Connor and closing the distance. I wrapped my arms around him, not even in a romantic way, and squeezed him tight. He breathed so heavily, almost as if I was hugging him to tight. And he didn’t hug me back, but he didn’t need to. I knew he needed it.
I figured something out about Connor Murphy. And that was he was too alone with his own mind. All he had was himself, explaining the lack of contacts in his phone. And he conditioned himself to his loneliness, building walls so no one would climb. Creating them to be dense so no one could break through. Telling himself no one wanted to climb or break them, because he wasn’t worth it.
That’s where he was wrong. I wanted to. I wanted to get to know the boy in front of me. The cute stoic boy who doesn’t like to talk. The boy who was now crying in front of me. The boy who was angry at the world for making him so alone.
I didn’t want Connor Murphy to feel alone anymore. So we stood there, him in my arms. For a long time.
It was Connor who broke our close contact, “Okay.” telling me to pull away. “Sorry.” he muttered, feeling embarrassed at his breakdown.
“Don’t apologize.” I simply told him as I started walking off the wooden boat. “We gotta get to our next stop. Chop chop.” I knew we needed to talk about it, but Connor wasn’t ready. So I was going to humor him until he was. I was going to prove to him that he could tell me whenever he wanted.
I told Connor to drive a ways away. He didn’t mind. We had to jump on the highway, which was completely empty. Connor drove much faster than the speed limit like before. Almost reaching 100 mph. I hung desperately onto the side of the door.
Connor was confused when we got to the place. It was the malls parking garage. I told him to drive to the top. When we arrived at the very top, Connor pulled into a scape right in the middle of the concrete tower. I got out of the car before he even got a chance to turn it off.
“Since the mall is closed, we can’t do the original plan of jumping on mattresses, so your brilliant sponsor thought up something else. You ever seen a sunrise, New Kid?”
“Yeah, my family used to go to the Bahamas for vacation, and I’d always stayed up to watch the sun rise and the dolphins jump at the horizon line…”
I sighed, “Okay, well you ever see the sunrise at the top of a mall’s parking garage?” raising my eyebrows, I walked backwards with my arms out.
Connor started to chuckle, shaking his head at me, “Can’t say I have…”
“The Bahamas can suck it, then. This is so much better. I mean look,” I turned away from Connor pointing at the sighted below us as he appoarched the edge, standing close to me. “There’s our awesome Cineplex, we finally got the first Avengers movie to screen here this year. And look over there. That’s where the old Japanese restaurant was that’s now an Indian food place. Because fuck sushi. And look, it’s the best place on earth!”
“Yes! Cash-In Culture!”
“Cash-In Culture sucks.” Connor admitted with a murmur.
I gasped, “Take that back, New Kid.”
“No!” he scoffed, “They cheat you out of everything. $7 for like 40 game boy advance games they are going to end up selling for 50 bucks a piece. You’re better selling them on Ebay.
I over-exaggerated a groan, “God, you millennials and your internet. It’s about the Nostalgia, New Kid! Do you care about nothing!”
“I care about weed.” he grumbled, leaning his face on his fist. My head shot over to his, and he looks at me, letting out a snicker. “Come on, I was kidding…”
“Not funny!” I hummed.
“Ah, loosen up. When is this sun gonna come the fuck up anyway.”
“I have no clue, that’s the fun of it. It has to be soon.” I grabbed Connor’s wrist to haul him back to the car, he jerks it away.
“What the hell are you doing?” He hissed.
I raised an eyebrow, “I was going on have us sit on the hood of your car so we didn’t have to stand…”
“You could have just fucking said so!”
“Time out, Connor. What is it now?”
“What the hell do you mean by that?”
“Why d’you freak?” I pressed.
“I didn’t, I was just startled…”
“Positive, now lets watch this fucking sunrise before we miss it and have wasted our time…” Connor shuffles quickly to the car, jumping right on the edge of the car’s hood. I followed, sitting right next to him and having our thighs touch.
Connor was upset again, this time, it seemed more like he wanted to break something than cry. His fists were balled up to a point where his knuckles were turning white.
Here goes nothing.
I grabbed his hand, prying his fingers apart to slip mine in them. I cautiously leaned my head on his shoulder. Connor was stiff, but he seemed to relax the longer my hand was in his, and my head atop his shoulder. As the sky started to lighten up, my eyes started to darken, getting heavier and heavier until I couldn’t keep my lids from shutting.
I awoke to a slight nudge, causing me to straighten up and widening my sleepy eyes.
“You missed it…” Connor told me, our faces closer than they have ever been. Too close.
I turned away, and wiped my eyes, pretending to not have been aware of our close proximity. “Why’d didn’t you wake me up for it.”
“Thought you needed to sleep more. Plus you shut up for once.”
“You make me out to be talkative. Have you met me?”
“Yeah, and you talk more than me. Thus, you’re talkative.”
“Everyone talks more than you.”
Connor rolled his eyes, “Don’t you have school?”
“School?” I mused, “School?” I repeated, in more of a panicked tone. I looked around me. It was bright out. “Shit! It’s Monday. I have School.”
“Why don’t we just skip. I’ll take you to breakfast?” Was he asking me on a date? Wait, was this whole night a date? Connor interrupted my thoughts. “Well?”
“I…” I thought about it. For a moment. “I can’t. I can’t miss school?”
“Come on. It’s just one day. Plus, you’ll be too tired to pay attention. And, you get to hang with me.” Connor persuaded.
And Connor could easily persuade me. “Fine. But this is a one time thing. We will call it…
“Of course,” he joined, “because, what else would it be.”
I stared at him, biting my cheeks from smiling, “Exactly.”
I’ve never done this before. I’ve never skipped school. I’ve never hung out with a boy. I’ve never gone on a date, or excuse me,
And I’ve never done all three things at once before. I’m practically killing
birds with one stone. And to top things off, we went to Denny’s.
“You know, you could have picked anywhere to go to breakfast. But you choose Denny’s” Connor mused.
“Well, my mom works at the diner down the street. And I couldn’t risk her co-workers seeing me there.”
Connor hummed, while looked at the menu. “Isn’t your mom wondering where you’re at.”
I looked up from my menu to see if he looked up from his, his eyes studied mine. I shrugged, “No, she works late all the time so she doesn’t wake up until I practically come home from school. What about yours?”
He quickly retreated his eyes back down to the menu. “This isn’t new to them…”
I leaned back into the booth, “So what? You take all the girls to Denny’s in the morning.”
Connor stiled out a laugh, “No. Definitely not. No girl in their right mind would go out to breakfast to Denny’s with me.”
“What does that make me then? And please, for the love of god, don’t say
“That’s better, I guess. But who wouldn’t want to go out with Connor Murphy to breakfast at Denny’s?”
“The entire population of the female human species… How does the Sticky Bun Pancake Breakfast sound?”
“Diabetic. And Connor Murphy you must be blind?”
“Why? Because I think Sticky Bun Pancakes look good? I think that’s you-”
I cut him off laughing, “God, no sticky bun pancakes sound fine. I was talking about you.” I can’t believe I just said that.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“God, you’re clueless Connor. You know what I mean.”
His stare was blank, “No, I’m not sure I do.
“Don’t play dumb”
“Can’t say I’m playing.”
“You’re hot, Murphy!”
We both stared at each other, in shock of what I said. I was horrified, he was probably horrified too.
“Hi, welcome to Denny’s what can I get started for you guys today?”
Both Connor and I were speechless, like we didn’t know how to read a menu. The waitress looked between the two, her smile getting meeker by the second.
“Do y’all need more time, because I can come back in a-”
“No!” Both of us exclaimed, causing her draw on eyebrows to rise up.
“Uh, I’ll just take a coffee” Connor said awkwardly. I noticed his ears were bright red again.
“And for you, Miss?” she asked, pulling my attention away from him.
“Uh, Tea. Hot Tea, please. Er, and, uh, Sticky Bun Pancakes.”
“Alright…” she looked between the two of us, waiting for one of us to add something. “I’ll be back with your drinks, then.” she coughed as she walked away.
I looked shyly back up at Connor, but he refused to make eye contact with me.
“You don’t have to lie to me.” He breathed out. “I get it, it’s funny. Make a kid feel like he belongs and then crush his ego when it gets too big.”
I tilted my head, “What the hell are you talking about.”
“What is it? Funny to you?”
“Is what funny?”
“Making me feel good about myself. S-so you can laugh at me later!” Connor started to raise his voice. I started to look around the restaurant, to see if anyone was looking. Connor’s eyes started to water. His fist was clenched, I went to grab it. “Don’t!” It came out more high-pitched than he wanted to, his voice cracked. I grabbed it anyway, not letting him pull away.
“Connor… Come the fuck on. You know I’m not doing that. I’m not playing a fast one, or going to laugh at you later. Who would I even laugh about it with? Reagan? Listen, you think you’re life is sad, well join the goddamn party. Unfortunately, I got nothin’ on you. Welcome to the losers club” Connor didn’t say anything, he just sat there, very still, letting a girl hold his hand in a Denny’s.
The waitress brought our drinks and pancake out.
“It looks nothing like the picture.” I announced. Connor opened his silverware and dug in.
“But it tastes really fucking good.” I opened mine to see if he was lying.
I took a bite. “Oh.” I moan. “Oh, My God.” I lean back, letting out another moan. Connor looks around, tensed. I closed my eyes tight, “Oh, baby. You taste so good.”
Connor was mortified, “(Y/N), for christ’s sake, shut up.” I opened my eyes and smiled, holding back a cackle. I took another forkful.
“Oh wOW! That’s it. Right there.” I squealed in a pornographific way. “Holy Fu-” Connor sprang up, covering my mouth, his entire face pink.
“If you don’t shut up, I’m going to leave you here for the Denny’s clean up crew to take.” I nodded in fake compliance. He let go and sat back down.
“Question?” I asked after swallowing my pancake.
“Answer?” he replied with his mouth half full.
“So, you don’t have a girlfriend?”
Connor looked up at me sheepishly, “Didn’t I make that obvious?”
“I mean, yeah. But…” I started to laugh, Connor stiffened. “I thought that girl who sometimes picks you up was… I thought you guys were dating.”
Connor squinted his eyes momentarily, trying to pinpoint who I was talking about. When he figured it out, his face twisted in disgust, “Zoe? My sister? Oh my god, thats gross!”
“I didn’t know! How was I supposed to know you even have a sister.”
“Ugh, that’s so gross, (Y/N), I can’t finish these pancakes now.”
“Oh, stop being dramatic. Of course you can finish these bomb ass pancakes.” I shoved a bite into his mouth. “So tell me, you have anymore family you wanna tell me about. Or is the older woman who picks you up actually your sugar mommy.”
Connor makes a grossed out face at me, “You’re so disgusting.”
This time Connor shoves a pancake in my mouth. I let out a loud fake moan. “OOOOOO-”
Connor quickly gets up, throws a 20 on the table and starts heading to the door.
“Connor! Connor Murphy, come back here at once and finish your pancake!” He gives me the finger from the behind. I get up to follow him out. “New Kid! New Kid, you can’t leave your sponsor here to die at Denny’s.” I get out the door and rush to his car. “That’s like the worst place to die. Hey! Hey!” I catch up to him, grabbing his hand to stop him. Connor abruptly turns around, pulls me into him, and plants his lips right on mine.
Right in front of a Denny’s