Stay ~Jeff Atkins x Reader~
There’s something beautiful about the summer- they way it creates a new version of reality where music sounds better and happiness feels sweeter. Parties can give the same kind of feeling where nothing feels real, but all of it feels great. Well, until the next morning.
This makes an end of the summer party the pinnacle of a new reality. Inhibitions run low and everything else is on overdrive. In a week they will all be students again, studying to ensure the best future possible. But for tonight they are 60% alcohol and 40% bad decisions.
“Y/N!” Jess squeals with excitement, running towards the girl who just entered the room. She had been away visiting family abroad for the majority of the summer, and while the beaches had given a whole new meaning to the word ‘paradise’, this was where she was truly happiest.
“Jess!” she returns the enthusiasm, hugging her best friend tightly. The warm breezes that blew in through her window every morning this past summer brought her comfort, but this was home.
“I want in,” Justin grins, approaching the two and enveloping them between his arms.
“God I’ve missed you guys,” she sighs contentedly.
“You have so much third wheeling to catch up on,” Jess teases light heartedly.
Her face twists up unpleasantly at the thought. She loves both Jess and Justin dearly, but she does not love the thought of third wheeling. “With all due respect, I think I’ll pass.”
“Is that Y/N Y/L/N?!” a fourth voice enters the picture, causing the trio to part and turn towards the person walking towards them.
Jeff Atkins. Baseball star and literal ray of sunshine with the face of an angel and the body of a Greek God.
“Hey, Jeff,” she laughs, walking away from Jess and Justin to meet him halfway.
“I haven’t seen you in forever,” Jeff grins warmly, brushing her arm with his hand. It’s a sweet gesture. He’s always been so sweet.
“It’s only been like two months,” she mirrors his grin. It’s impossible not to smile back at someone who radiates warmth the way he does.
“Feels like forever though. Especially since I was used to seeing you everyday at school. You look nice by the way,” he bumps her shoulder.
“I missed you, too,” she chuckles, “I look like I always do.”
She bites her lips together before looking down shyly and letting them fall apart into a smile. Jeff Atkins was so genuinely good in a way that was uniquely him.
“Jeff!” Troy yells from the outside patio, “Beer pong, now, c’mon man!”
“Coming!” Jeff yells back to Troy, but turns back to her before walking away. “Come watch us play? You can practice cheering me on for baseball season,” his mouth twists into a smirk.
“Who says I’m gonna come to your baseball games?” She challenges playfully, using quick wit to redeem herself from the shy smile.
“Don’t break my heart, Y/N,” he pouts childishly, walking backward to join the boys for a game of beer pong but not breaking eye contact with her. He finally turns away from her to exit the house and join those outside, but not before mouthing a “pleaasssseeee” and sticking out his bottom lip.
“I’ll be there in a second!” she yells so he can hear her over the music.
His pout transforms into a grin before he disappears through the threshold, indicating that he heard her.
“So how about a double date instead of third wheeling?” Justin and Jess approach her with Justin wiggling his eyebrows suggestively.
“Oh shut up,” her face heats up at the thought, “He’s a nice guy. He’s friendly with everyone.”
“Yeah, but he doesn’t flirt with everyone,” Jess interjects, crossing her arms over her chest vindictively.
“He didn’t ask me to cheer for him,” Justin fakes offense, “Honestly I’m a little hurt.”
“Fuck off, Justin,” she laughs loudly, putting her hands over her face.
“You better get out there,” Justin presses, gesturing to the sliding door, “After all, it’s mine and Jess’s two month anniversary so an intense make-out session could happen at anytime.”
“Bye!” she turns on her heels quickly, running away from her friends before they could make things awkward, or more awkward.
Five cups of jungle juice and two games of beer pong later she’s sitting on a folding lawn chair watching Jeff singlehandedly win a third game of beer pong since Troy had wandered off and was bothering Hannah and Clay.
After sinking another shot, Jeff notices where Troy had gone. A brief look of panic flashes across his face before he mutters a quick, “be right back!”, making a beeline for Troy. Jeff was just about as invested in Clay and Hannah as Clay was in Hannah. She wondered just how much better off the world would be if everyone had the same heart as Jeff.
“Did you save the day?” she asks upon Jeff’s return. She’s quite drunk and seeing two of everything, including two Jeffs. How wonderful would that be? A world with two Jeff Atkins. Incredible.
“I don’t know about that,” he chuckles modestly, “It’s up to Clay.”
“Meanwhile that beer run is up to you, buddy” Troy points out, his words slurring together.
“Later man,” Jeff replies, picking up a ping pong ball.
“Because you definitely need more alcohol,” she rolls her eyes at Troy, a sick feeling blossoming in her stomach.
“Don’t be a buzzkill, Y/N,” Troy retorts.
“Hey, relax,” Jeff snaps at Troy, “you’ll get your beer.”
The sick feeling in her stomach intensifies tenfold. She doesn’t want him to go, but she can’t beg him to stay. He’s not drunk, he would never jeopardize his life or anyone else’s so recklessly. But something about it still doesn’t feel right. He shouldn’t go.
She stands up, wobbling slightly. She grabs the back of her lawn chair to steady herself before heading back for the house. The twisting in her stomach is ominous in a way that refuses to be ignored.
“Where’re you going?” Jeff asks, his eyebrows knitting together.
“I need another drink,” she mumbles, brushing past him.
Three shots and a game of suck and blow later she’s feeling light and airy. All the anxiety from earlier has been replaced with a tingling feeling that reaches her feet. She’s quite hammered, and all the slip ups in suck and blow have her laughing and her sides aching. She’s starting to get lightheaded.
“I’m gonna go get some air,” she gasps in-between fits of laughter.
“Can you even walk?” Jess giggles.
“I’ll crawl if I have to,” she shrugs, stumbling her way out the door.
There’s nothing like the refreshing sensation of cool air hitting your skin after being cooped up in a house full of drunks, especially when you’re drunk yourself. The feeling of a breeze on her face is intoxicating in its own right, so she continues to walk around the outside of the house until she reaches the front.
There’s someone else at the front of the house, too. She can only see their back as they walk towards the row of cars, but she knows who it is. Suddenly she remembers why she felt the need to down three shots of vodka.
“Atkins,” she calls out, stumbling a bit as she walks forward.
He turns around at the sound of his name, smiling when he sees who it is. “Hey, you. Looks like you got that drink you wanted,” he laughs lightheartedly at her shaky balance.
“You making that beer run?” she asks, wringing her hands together nervously.
“Yeah. I’m not even a little buzzed, don’t worry,” he says soothingly.
“Stay,” she says softly.
“Huh?” he tilts his head to the side.
She continues to walk forward until she’s standing right in front of him, her weight falling to the side enough to make her falter. He reaches out to steady her, keeping a firm grasp on her side. She places her hands on his chest to steady herself before locking her eyes on his.
“Stay,” she repeats.
“Y/N, it’s okay I’m completely fine I promise. I only had two beers like two hours ago,” he assures, his voice gentle.
“I know, but it’s not like anybody needs anymore alcohol. I’m one of the more sober ones right now and that says a lot. Honestly I don’t even know how I made it out here on my own,” she sighs, “Just stay, please. ”
He looks at her softly, his eyes studying the worry etched onto her face. She feels so delicate in his grasp, like a porcelain doll that could shatter with too much pressure. He has always been enamored with her.
“Okay,” he moves his hands to hold her face, “I’ll stay.”
She lets out a heavy breath, letting her forehead rest against his chest and wrapping her arms around him. Maybe she was worrying over nothing, maybe she wasn’t, but she’s unexplainably relieved at those words.
“You gotta promise to watch me play baseball though,” he teases.
“I’ll be there every game with a sign that has your name on it,” she laughs, tilting her chin up to look at him.
“You gotta stop looking at me like that,” he shakes his head,“I might just fall in love with you.”
“Don’t get my hopes up.”
“Don’t leave for two months at a time,” he counters, grinning boyishly.
“I’d stay right here forever if I could,” she tightens her arms around him.
“I’d kiss you if you weren’t like 10 drinks deep right now,” he laughs, rubbing her back gingerly.
“Let’s go inside. I need to get sober. Right now. Immediately,” she pulls away, grabbing his hand to tow him behind her. Their laughter echoes down the empty street as they run around to the back of the house.
There’s something beautiful about the end of summer- the way things begin to feel more permanent. A simple request can change so much. All he had to do was stay. And he did.