This was a one-shot for English, though it is the rough draft of what will soon be improved. My friend even read it, and we went over tons of ideas of what we could do with this story if we put it out there to a contest or an organization. Anyway, nothing too explicit, as it is for school, but you'll probably still enjoy it. As usual, it's M/M...

Any suggestions on how I can make it clear that the main character is a guy?

Second Chance

When the party is over, and most of the dwellers left behind have gone home, I finally get the time to be by myself and recollect. Instead of being in the warmth of my own bed when I wake in the morning, I find I am in the bathtub in an inch of freezing cold water. My delight towards this was indescribable, but I was too hazed to make a fuss about it. Through the blur of my own black and red bangs, I realized I wasn't the only one to find such a convenient place to be sleeping.

"Rae! Is that you?" Jade squinted his eyes, which were still caked with last night's makeup. I quickly realized that no matter how much makeup you're wearing, it's still possible to look like crap, and people can tell if you're on drugs just as easily.

"Yeah…" I groggily mumbled, spit falling across my chin. Somehow, I managed to move my hand all the way up so I could wipe it off. "What time is it?" I questioned, turning my head to face the clock that was now tilted sideways on the wall thanks to last night's insanity. It read 2:17. The only thing that had woken me up had been when Jade kicked me with his stiff foot, cursing out the joy of his wake. For a while I laughed to myself about it, but I realized I'd been laughing for a lot longer than I had thought.

Jade's foot twitched again, lingering beside my shoulder on the ledge of the tub. E flopped his foot down in the water and suggested, "Maybe we should get up." I shuddered at the thought of moving again, and my throbbing headache rejected the possibility. I thought I saw someone wave and stagger past the bathroom door, but I wasn't sure if I was seeing things of not. I shook my head and we helped each other out of the tub, not bothering to wipe off our feet before we traveled into the living room.

"Jade?" I asked as he turned his head, "You told me you wouldn't do any drugs last night. But you did, didn't you?" he paused and stared blankly at the wall, his eyes glazing over. Neither of us needed to answer the question, I decided. "You should go home and sleep it off." I suggested for his hangover in particular, handing him a glass of water before leading him to the door in a fresh pair of clothes. He murmured some form of thanks before I shut him up and left a print of my lipstick across his cheek. I didn't care if anyone saw the kiss, and it would give his brother something to tease him for, anyway. My job was done.

Jade turned as he headed into the doorway asking, "What about your clothes?" I shoved him outside and rolled my eyes.

"Keep them." I groaned, slamming the door shut and closing my eyes. The clothes were almost his size, and I made sure not to give him anything I might've wanted to keep. Turning, I gritted my teeth at the remains of people in the room. "Get out of here! All of you!" I shouted at them, eventually irritating them until they were motivated to get themselves out of the house. Sighing, I collapsed onto the sofa head-first and fell asleep once they were all gone.

When I woke up, the family was back, and I shuddered, abandoning my post to head for my room. The phone started to ring as if it had been timed for the moment I walked into the room, and I picked it up with a stumbling, "J-Jade?" he laughed at me for a moment. I could picture him smiling.

"Do you know what day of the week it is?" he asked, and I shook my head, not considering that he couldn't see me, though I knew he'd understand anyway. "It's Wednesday, Rae. You haven't been at school all week." He explained. I wasn't surprised, but I wasn't very satisfied with myself, either. "Are you okay…?"

"That's where I'm supposed to say yes, right?" I murmured, slapping myself in the face and wiping my bangs away from my eyes. He sighed into the phone. "What? Sorry…I'm still really messed up…" I tried to explain, but he didn't care at that point.

"Come over here for a while. Dad's getting upset again, and I need an excuse to go hang out in the basement. Please?" he begged me, and I managed an agreement, changing my clothes, grabbing the keys from my desk, and heading out of the house before anyone had the time to stop me. My step-brother did come out in a fit, though, waving his arms at me as I started the car. I reeled the window down and raised my eyebrow. I sighed and asked, "Yeah?" as he leaned into the window with a frustrated expression.

"What are you doing? The house is a complete wreck! You can't just drive off like this! You know Dad's going to throw a fit on ME, as usual, so hurry up, alright?" he shook his head and headed back into the house, probably because it was starting to rain outside. Pulling out of the driveway, I lit a cigarette and put it to my lips, cranking the radio dial up to an old Nirvana album that one of my friends probably dragged into the car from my room. I hadn't felt that I'd cleaned up enough to be going to see my boyfriend, or anyone from that matter, but his dad was fierce when he got mad.

All I'd put on were some tight, black, torn up pants that I'd found lying around my room and put some chains on, some random band t-shirt, and a red and black plaid jacket that I'd had since I was younger. I'd gotten it from my real dad. It kind of frustrated me that he left us, but at least I had something to remember him by. Besides, I liked the shirt, and I felt like it gave me a part of him to live by. So, I was nothing special, but my outfits always worked, somehow.

Inhaling my cigarette and letting it sit between my fingers over the wheel, my car suddenly made a noise it shouldn't have made, and it permanently stopped. I cursed and hit my head on the wheel, attempting to start the engine several times and realizing I was getting nowhere. I stepped slowly out of the car and stared at the road ahead, considering how much farther his house was. Not too far, I hoped. The houses I walked by on the way to his place were mostly houses I recognized. It was a big city, but most of my friends lived in the area. Dropping my cigarette, I stomped it out as I approached Jade's house.

Finally, I dragged myself up the sidewalk to his doorsteps, where he sat with drying tears on his face and his chin in his hands, frowning. I was used to this by now, so I took a seat next to him and put a consoling arm around his shoulder, leaning my head onto his. He sobbed and dug his face into my chest as I rubbed his back, closing my eyes and smelling the coconut scent of shampoo in his hair. The crying took a while to end, but I was patient, and I knew it was good for him to let out whatever he'd been holding in.

Eventually, I brought him inside, and we walked downstairs where the low hum of the TV was the only thing that could be heard, and the screen was the only thing we could see through the dark. I made sure to lock the door and I let him sit down on the couch before I made myself comfortable with him. The rain tapped against the window to the left, dripping across it and falling against the walls. I always loved the tapping noise of the rain; it relaxed me sometimes. Jade's short auburn hair nestled suddenly against my neck, tickling me. I smiled and rubbed his back.

"It's okay." I tried to tell him, because that was all anyone could say to something like this. No one would know what else to say. You can say sorry, and you can say it's okay, and you can say it'll all be better soon. To me, it never made a difference, though, and I hated it when anyone showed me pity. Only Jade could talk some sense into me when I needed it.

"I want to quit all of this." He mumbled under his breath, digging his face further into my shirt. I nodded and opened my eyes slowly, hoping that maybe he meant it this time, rather than the hundreds of other times he'd lied to me about it just to make me happy. Every time, it worked, and he convinced me that he wasn't abusing drugs anymore. Every time, though, I knew he was lying, and by thinking he would stop, I was only lying to myself. I was going to do it again anyway. Little did I know that a week later, I would be the one crying at his doorstep.

The next day at school was horrid, but I had my friends surrounding me and comforting me; laughing it off like they usually do. I didn't want to laugh about anything at the time, but I played along with the game of life. There was nothing I could do to change Jade's ways, it seemed, but I kept on trying, telling myself 'Maybe tomorrow'. Every smile he gave me was twisted in his lies, and it made me sick to my stomach, but I forced myself to smile back for his sake. I could never upset him. For what was left of the week, it seemed like I was dragging myself along just to survive.

On Friday night, I had some friends over, hoping to have a relaxing time. Jade couldn't come. I knew where he was, but I kept trying to shove it into the back of my head. By the end of the night, it had driven me crazy, and I told all of my friends to go home again. Exhausted, I headed upstairs to my room and opened another pack of cigarettes that I 'borrowed' from my step-dad, lighting one and dragging my easel out of my closet. In the painting that the canvas displayed, Jade was sleeping, just as he had been when I began the picture. I fell asleep painting that picture, but I wanted to finish it when I had the chance.

With every stroke on the page, my teeth were gritted, and I was panicking by now, the brush in my hand getting sweaty and finally snapping from the pressure on my thumb. Dropping the brush on the floor, I took a long drag of my cigarette, closing my eyes and locking the easel up in my closet again. The smell of acrylic paint filled my nostrils through the odd hours of the night until there was a loud knocking on the door. My heart dropped to the floor, and I leaped out of my room, tapping my finger on the doorknob. Do I really want to answer this? I wondered, nodding and twisting the knob.

A group of cackling friends surrounded the doorway, and Jade pushed through them, holding his arms out and stretching them around my waist, kissing me on the cheek. I didn't have much of a reaction, but I let them inside, leading them downstairs. The next thing I remember, everyone is freaking out, and I'm sitting with my eyes closed and my head back against the couch, straining my eyes so I can keep them shut tightly, away from the world. I make everyone leave again, though not all of them leave that building. One of them is still here, lingering in the room, sitting with his head lolled back underneath a tent made from a sheet with Spiderman print all over it.

The game of life sometimes has a 'Back to Start' option. Fortunately, I've never come across it, myself. But sometimes, the decision you make in that game will be your last. These decisions are what most people call 'life-altering' decisions. I call them 'life-ending' decisions. If you're going to take the risk of losing your life just to have some fun, or 'get away' for a while, and escape the reality you have to face every day, you're making a 'life-ending' decision. I once made one of those, but it didn't kill me. The decision I made almost killed me, and left me with the scars to remember that I once dealt with death.

Today, there are so many kinds of artificial happiness, and every day, people sell their lives for it. One by one, their lives are taken, whether they expect it or not. A drug that can be called 'harmless', or 'less harmful' than any other drug, is no exception to this. Drugs are drugs, and no matter what drug you're on, the only thing you're really taking is your very own life. Slowly, people waste away for the sense of happiness they can't earn that comes from themselves. They need it from somewhere else, someone else, and something else. I may have been the one who introduced Jade to those drugs, but after my own overdose, I knew when to draw the line, and I realized what I was dealing with.

Unfortunately, I couldn't show Jade when to draw the line, and there was no hope left for him. I wasn't going to take him to the hospital, and I wasn't going to try to save him from is overdose. Crying over his useless body, and grasping him as tight as I could, clinging to whatever part of him I had left, I knew that Jade was dead. Jade wouldn't come back for me like I did for him. Maybe because he didn't want to, maybe because he couldn't. If he did want to come back for me, I would never know. I loved him with all my heart, but sometimes love isn't enough when it's coming from somewhere else. Sometimes, they need that love from themselves, and they don't realize it.

I'd thought about it for so long, how young he was, and how he'd never get another chance at life like I did. Jade was meant to teach me the lesson as he fell apart that week that not everyone gets a second chance, and that I should be thankful that life gave me another chance. Clinging to his body, I held his limp hand in mine. I didn't understand why I couldn't have him back, or why he was gone, and why he had to be gone. I never figured it out, though, no matter how much I asked, and no matter what I blamed it on. There was no real answer. I only knew that Jade was gone, and he wasn't going to come back.