Why am I even here?
Cassie walked over from the makeshift dance floor. "How's it going?" She asked, swinging her keg over the arm of the chair and perching atop it, flashing her underwear in a way that made Danny think it was on purpose.
"Uh, yeah, it's going good," he replied, unceremoniously moving away from the overly friendly girl.
She flashed him a toothy smile. "Cool, want to dance?"
Before he could even reply, Cassie grabbed his hand and dragged him to the dance floor. Danny grimaced as her sweaty body was pushed against him and her arms circled his neck.
"Do you do a lot of partying?" She whispered in his ear.
Danny shrugged off some reply and let his eyes wander across the room, attempting to distract him from the vulgar girl currently grinding their hips together. The room heaved with people; Danny could see some of his friends engrossed in a grueling drinking competition and he watched with mild amusement as one proceeded to throw up over the expensive carpet. Smoke rose from the doorway leading to the basement, bodies heaved on the packed dance floor and people lay passed out on the stairway. He idly noted that the sofa he had been occupying for the past hour had been taken over by a drunken couple eagerly making out, as a nervous, twitchy guy sat rigidly in his seat beside them.
Cassie chose the moment to press herself even closer to Danny, and her leg started to slowly caress his calf. He flinched when her leg rose too high, and quickly made an excuse before escaping towards the kitchen.
He wove his way around the unconscious girl, lying in what appeared to be her own vomit, and grabbed someone's forgotten vodka bottle, downing it in one. Once the vodka had burned its way down his throat, he grabbed another one.
Danny heard movement from the doorway and looked up; praying Cassie hadn't decided to chase after him. He breathed a sigh of relief upon seeing his best friend, Travis, standing in the doorway.
"Hey, bro," Travis greeted him, walking forward.
Danny offered a tipsy smile. "Hey! Where's that, uh, girl you were with earlier?"
Travis gave him a cheeky smile. "She's upstairs 'resting', if you get my drift." His face suddenly dropped the grin, and he looked curious. "So, hey, I saw you and Cassie dancing before. Why'd you scarper like that?"
Danny's smile wavered. "I don't really, you know, like her," he offered, staring down at his shoes.
"You don't like her? Are you kidding, she's one of the hottest girls here!" Travis watched as Danny knocked back the last of his vodka. "Dude, you've been acting depressed all week. What's wrong with you?"
Danny heaved a sigh and pinched the bridge of his nose. "It's, ah, it's nothing. Really," he lied, refusing to meet Travis' eyes. But what else could he say? Telling the truth would mean sacrificing his popularity, his friends – basically his life.
"Nothing?" Travis asked, one eyebrow raised.
Danny nodded. "Yeah, nothing." I can't tell him, he thought. I can't tell my best friend – my incredibly homophobic best friend – that I'm gay.
He muttered a quick goodbye to Travis and fled the kitchen.
Matt glanced around the room, at the crowded bodies on the dance floor and the intense drinking competition between the popular guys, and his sense of insecurity grew.
"Troy, I don't belong here!" He moaned, pulling one of the sofa's beer-stained cushions into his lap and hugging it for comfort.
Troy, currently busy in the process of making-out with some random redhead, let out a moan of his own, though this one was slightly less innocent.
Eventually, he pulled back long enough to let out a breathy, "You're fine, kid. Just go get some beer and loosen up," before rapidly returning to his hook-up.
Matt stared down into his lap, idly plucking out a few loose threads for the cushion. "But all the popular guys are surrounding the beer! I'll look like a complete gee if I go over."
Troy let out what sounded suspiciously like a growl, and Matt decided to let the conversation drop. After what seemed like hours, but what was probably only five minutes, Matt gently tapped Troy on the shoulder.
"Hey, Troy? I'm gonna go the bathroom, I think I had too much to drink."
It was a blatant lie and they both knew it, but Matt was too desperate to get away and Troy was too engaged with his new girlfriend to care.
As Matt headed towards the stairs, he couldn't help but curse Troy. This is all his fault! He silently fumed. He dragged me along to this party, convinced me it was a good idea, and then dumped me within the first half-hour for some redheaded bimbo. And he drove me here in the first place so I can't leave early! The party had been a disaster for Matt, and he vowed never to go to one again.
Fifteen minutes or so later and Matt was lost. Sure, the house looked fairly big on the outside but he didn't realise how many rooms there were! And four floors? Surely that was unnecessary. His house only had two.
In his musings, Matt failed to realise he had reached the end of the corridor and was steadily nearing the rather steep staircase that lead back down to the second floor. In fact, it was only when his right foot slipped over the first step and he started to tumble that Matt realised his potentially threatening mistake.
Luckily, somebody was waiting at the bottom to catch his fall.
Danny blinked in surprise when the sudden impact of another's body slammed into him, and it was only his quick reflexes from years of basketball that allowed him to cling onto the extra body and steady himself with the banister.
After a few moments to recollect his thoughts – and his footing – Danny looked down at the small boy who was currently clutching him. The boy, from what he could see, had a head of longish black hair and pale skin, accompanied by all-black clothing and a pair of thick-rimmed glasses. Danny's first thought was that he was probably one of those depressing, gothic kids that went to his school. 'Emos', or something.
The raven-haired boy, still thoroughly disorientated, pulled back slightly from Danny's embrace and looked around confusedly. "Wha … what just happened?" He muttered weakly.
"You fell," Danny stated kindly. "You'll probably have a couple of bruises later but you should be fine. What's your name?"
"Matt. It's, uh, Matt." The room started to spin, and suddenly Matt felt sick. "I need to sit down…"
Danny jumped to attention. "Oh, right, of course." He gently lowered Matt down to the floor, where the black-hair boy then curled up into a ball and squeezed his eyes shut. "I'm Danny, by the way."
Matt offered a weak smile, though Danny couldn't see it. "Thanks, Danny."
Danny sat by him patiently for a few minutes before breaking the silence. "We should get you to a hospital. If you're feeling dizzy then you might have hit your head on the way down and you could have concussion…"
"No, I'm fine," Matt replied, uncurling himself slightly. "I just get light-headed sometimes. It's nothing, really."
The statement caused Danny to recall his conversation with Travis, and he quickly tried to distract himself.
"So…enjoying the party?" He asked awkwardly, trying to start up a conversation.
Matt scoffed. "Yeah, right. Maybe the next time I get the urge to go to a party, I'll stick my head in a blender instead. It would be a considerably more fun alternative, anyway."
Danny chuckled. "Yeah, this doesn't exactly look like your kind of party…Then again, it doesn't seem to be mine either." He heard Matt shift in his position on the floor, and looked over at him, to find the timid boy staring at his intently.
"Yeah? I thought all you 'popular' people liked these parties."
Danny scrunched up his nose in what looked like disgust. "Forgive me, but getting so drunk I spend the entire night puking and then the next few days with a hangover from hell does not sound appealing, or 'fun', to me."
Matt smiled softly and shifted closer to Danny, his confidence growing. "Sounds like my friend Troy. Once he woke up in the middle of a golf course with only his boxers on and he couldn't remember a thing!"
"Hmm, a think something similar happened to one of my friends on the basketball team…Only replace 'golf course' with 'forest' and 'boxers' with, well, nothing."
"He was naked?!" Matt laughed in disbelief.
Danny nodded, struggling to keep his laugher under wraps. "Yeah! Even worse, he had no idea where he was, so he was just wandering around some forest in the nude for two hours!"
"No way! How'd he get home? I mean, surely he didn't walk…"
Matt hesitated as he unbuckled his seat belt.
"Thanks for, uh, helping me tonight and everything," he said, staring down at his lap with a blush on his face. "I had a nice time, you know, when we were talking…"
Danny smiled at the younger boy's embarrassment. "Don't mention it. I actually had a nice time too – you're a lot less depressing than you look!"
Matt laughed softly at the taunt. "Yeah? Well, you're a lot less air-headed than you look!"
"Getting more confident, are we?" Danny joked, slinging his arm around the raven-haired boy. "It's nice to know I have that effect on people…It must be my charming personality and dashing good looks!"
A wistful smile graced Matt's face as he looked down at his lap once more. Charming personality and dashing good looks, indeed, he thought to himself. If only he liked me…
Matt looked up to see Danny staring at him curiously, and quickly shoved such thoughts out of his head. He forced a smile onto his face and said, "Well, I better get going…My mum's probably worrying about me…"
He opened the passenger door and started to get out; no sooner had his legs hit the pavement that he felt a tug on his wrist. Confused, he turned around.
He was silenced as a pair of lips covered his own.
It only lasted a few seconds, but to Danny it felt like an eternity. Oh God, what if he doesn't like me? He could tell the entire school – then my reputation will be ruined! I could even be kicked off the team…
The kiss finally ended, and both boys pulled back. Danny, his face uncharacteristically flushed, bit his lip nervously as he waited for Matt's response. Matt just sat there, dumbstruck, mouth still parted slightly from the kiss.
"Why…" he murmured quietly, "Why did you do that?"
Danny's face flushed a deeper shade of red. "I dunno, I just thought…that, well…you know…"
There was silence in the car for a few moments, until Danny gathered the courage to speak.
"I really…like you. I know we haven't known each other long – a few hours, in fact – but, uh, I do. Really like you, I mean. And if you don't like me back, well, that's fine but, uh…" Danny stopped himself from rambling any longer and looked up at Matt with a hopeful expression, still waiting for his reaction.
A couple of agonizing seconds later, Matt's face broke out into a grin. "…Really? You really do like me?" He asked shyly, blushing.
Danny returned the grin, a huge weight lifted off his shoulders. "Yeah…and, you know, maybe you'd like to…go out with me sometime?"
"Of course!" Matt replied happily. "I'd love to."
"Great! How about Monday, after school? We could go to the movies, get a meal or something."
Matt nodded eagerly, "I'd really like that."
The two boys stared at each other, wearing matching grins, before a shriek interrupted the silence.
"Matt Bradshaw, is that you? I've been waiting up for hours, worrying, and all along you've been out here! I'm going to be telling your father about this, make no mistake-"
Matt blushed heavily, offering an apologetic smile at Danny before saying, "Well, I better go now…See you on Monday."
"See you on Monday," Danny repeated, staring after the younger boy as he made his way up to his house.
When the front door shut behind Matt, Danny leant back against the head rest and closed his eyes. Well, then, he thought to himself, I guess I'm out of the closet.
Strangely enough, the idea didn't seem so bad anymore.