A/N: I was inspired to write this after leaving a weekly art thing with my friends, so a lot of the stuff in this story is based off my life lol

I most likely want something LGBT to happen, but I don't quite know who to pair up or where I'm going with this really. Read the first three chapters then give your opinions please? :)


It was within that moment that I realized everything was changing and that it always had been. It was as the cold night wind beat against the car, the sound raging in my right ear. In the backseat, Freida and Celeste were chatting about one thing or another making the radio's song faint versus all other noise. The streetlights fought the darkness desperately, losing almost as badly as the traffic lights.

These things were all insanely familiar. Common occurrences that I never looked forward to. We were leaving our last movie night before the girls went off for college and I began my junior year of high school. Both Celeste and the rest of our family would be moving that month. Celeste would move into her dorm, south of us while Mom, Dad, and I would settle into a smaller house in a different county. Freida, Celeste's best friend, was heading to Chicago where she would go to school while kicking back with her older brother who had recently graduated from his university.

Everything was flowing so smoothly as it should, as it always had, that I never noticed how different things were going to be and always had been. One second constantly switching to the next and flipping again. Nothing stayed the same for long. I took in a long breath, hoping to store it in my lungs for when I'd need it most, for when I'd need to pull out a memory of this moment, of this car ride that I had never looked forward to. These rides never seemed to change, the quiet radio, the loud girls who competed with the roar of the wind, the bleak streetlights, and Dad's concentrated eyes on the road ahead while his fingers tapped on the steering wheel.

Soon, I'd be the one with my hands on the wheel though no one would be by my side. It shocked me to think that soon I would also be the one experiencing the last of all my favorite events before going away. It'd be my last time saying goodbye to Archer or Paige. My last time in this town. My last time in my parents' house.

But that was still in the future, too far for me to think about it now, so I push the thought to the back of my brain just as Celeste calls something out to me.

"Bren has no idea what he's going to do with his life," she chided making Freida giggle.

"Not true," I said. "I know exactly what I'm doing."

She scoffed and rolled her eyes.

"Oh yeah?" she said. "What's that?"

"I'm going to go to college, get a job, get married, and have kids," I replied matter-of-factly which sent the girls into a laughing frenzy. My dad even dared to chuckle.

"You're too cute," Celeste said while still laughing.

I felt my face burn red as I pressed into my seat, hoping it'll swallow me. I nearly wanted to ask what was so wrong with my answer, but I knew that. What college am I going to go to? What am I going to major in? What job do I want? Who am I going to marry? Are my kids going to be boys or girls? What will I name them?

Of course some of those things are too far ahead, but there were kids my age who had this kind of stuff planned out since 7th grade, hardworking students who were set on being doctors or dentists, aspiring actors who were already getting work or upcoming mechanics helping out in their dad's shops. Freshman year, I overheard some girls discussing what they were going to name their children. Most kids in my school already had their college picked out and their majors, not to mention they had their own cars, unlike me.

I felt behind or maybe afraid to move on or both. I didn't want to pick a college and move out. That meant anything that went wrong from that point on would be my fault. I like having my parents to lean on. I liked the biggest mistakes I could make were a wrong answer on a test or a jacked-up yearbook picture.

"I bet Archer has his life together better than you do," Celeste commented.

And that was saying something. Archer was my best buddy, but he was not the brightest dude or the type you would expect to have his life so figured out. People would take one look at Archer and write him off as a lazy pothead. A troublemaking stoner. A smoking brain-dead loser who'd live with his parents until he was 40.

People would talk to Archer to find out he was a diligent pothead. A disciplined stoner. A smoking, brain-dead winner. He was a good kid and ultimately very fortunate. He got good grades because he always did his work, his dream to be a business owner and having all the motivation to achieve that dream. He had a steady girlfriend of one year, Lucille. Her dad really liked Archer and his family. The couple rarely had hard times, most of their arguments being pot-related, so it seemed that they were destined for one another. Lucille's dad was rich and would joke that'd he'd help kick start Archer's business if the young man stayed with his daughter. We all knew he really would.

So, my pothead best friend was mad at work, getting outstanding grades with the burnt brains while I, a sober trustworthy guy, was stuck with decent grades, no girlfriend, and a pocket full of unused potential.

"Alright, I'll see you later," Freida said as she slipped out the car. She blew a kiss to Celeste. "I'll text you," she said.

"Okay, see ya," Celeste said, blowing a kiss back before pulling out her cell phone to text one of her growing population of friends.

As we made our way home, I thought of how my sister was becoming a socialite and the limited amount of companions I had to my name. I thought of Lucille and Hayes, Celeste's current boyfriend. I thought of Archer, Paige, Quillan, Ginger, and Vic. My best friends. I was leaving them soon, having to transfer to a school in my new county. I'd be farther away, but not enough to keep us all apart.

When we got back home, it was hard to eat dinner or sleep. I could only stare at the boxes that were beginning to take the place of the coffee table, the speakers, the chairs. I pondered about the boxes that left Celeste's room near empty.

My heart ached. Everything was changing. And for once, I was taking notice.

As soon as it was light enough and I could assume everyone was awake the next day, I texted for them all to meet me at the Old Library. It was our hangout. A broken down place where people would come every now and then to hang up their art and drink. We weren't really into that, so we found a secret door that led to a room with a pool table, speakers, and a hard couch. Over the years we'd added our own touch to it. An old cooler sat in the corner, snapped shut tight and filled with chips and other snacks. The couch had abandoned pillows taped to it so as to make sitting in it bearable and the balls of the pool table had several things written on them in Sharpie (The cue ball had Paige + Ethan doodled on it, the X across the two names was added on later in red).

It was close enough in distance for me and Archer to ride bikes, Quillan and Vic to drive, Paige to walk, while Ginger skateboarded. That Thursday was a lucky one 'cause Vic and Ginger had off and Paige didn't have to go into her work until later, so we were all able to return to the Old Library once more.

"How can you be late when you're the one who called us here?" Vic spouted, fixing his cap as he sat on the pool table.

Quillan was setting up the balls despite the fact that we had 2 eight balls, 3 fourteens, and 5 more solids than stripes. We had some other extras that sat in the corner with the speaker which was constantly blasting our favorite rock station as long as I was there.

"Shut up," I said jokingly to Vic who flipped me the finger. "Do you know where everyone is?"

"That's your job," he complained, laying back on the table.

"Hey," Quillan whined. "I was gonna play a game."

Vic mumbled something in reply, but Quillan just huffed and continued with what he was doing. I plopped on the couch as my phone vibrated once in my pocket. I pulled it out to see I had received two texts.

Ginger:

Hav 2 walk broke sk8board c ya tho

Archer:

B there in a bit, bro. :-)

I decide not to reply to either, but instead get right into what I had called the meeting for.

"Are you guys scared at all?" I asked, crossing my legs on the couch.

"Of what?" Vic retorted, removing his cap from his bald head and placing an arm over his eyes. "You?"

"No," I snapped back. "Like, the future I guess."

"Isn't everyone?" Quillan asked as he placed the cue ball at the edge of the table and leaned over, cue stick in hand. He gave the ball a quick tap, rolling it into into Vic's head making the other boy shoot up and send Quillan a glare. "You were in the way," Quillan joked.

"That hurt!" Vic shouted, hopping off the table and storming towards the black boy who set down the cue stick and took a step back. Showing your fear is the worst thing you could do after inciting Vic's anger. Vic smirked and chased Quillan around the room, the two jumping over the pool table and pretending the cue sticks were lances.

Their laughter left me feeling somewhat disregarded until Paige sat down beside me and outstretched her arms onto the back of the couch.

"Aw, your boyfriends ignoring you?" she cooed playfully.

"Oh, shut it," I chuckled.

"So, what's up?"

"I've just been thinkin' lately."

"You should teach Archer how to do that."

"Teach me how to what?" Archer asked as the blond stumbled into the room.

Vic automatically lit up.

"Hey, Archie," he called out, bumping fists with Archer lazily grinning back at him. "What is up, bro? Got any grass, man?"

"Nah, dude, I like totally forgot, but hey, maybe next time," He scratched at his mop of hair. "Worst thing, I forgot where I forgot that shit, man."

"Sucks," Vic said before casually tripping Quillan who had been walking over to greet Archer.

For a while, we spent some time putting down Vic and Archer's habits. Archer replied with some off-the-rail speech about freedom and dreams that sent Vic and Paige into a fit of laughter. I kind of wanted to laugh too, but Quillan and I found it more appropriate to just shake our heads.

After that, we racked up the billiard balls the best we could and screwed around, the only one being any good at the game was Vic and he didn't like playing it much. Something about such easy access to a pool table sucked all the fun of the game away. During our messing around, Vic and Paige complained about their jobs.

"Some real idiots come by the shop sometimes, I swear," Vic said. "Asking for a multichannel amp when it's best for them to get a mono. Dumbasses."

"Please!" Paige scoffed. "I get dudes bitching about getting hamburgers after saying they ordered a cheeseburger. It's like you asked for a hamburger so that's what I gave you, you know?"

It was funny to listen to them talk about the different sorts of people they came across during work, but it also got me thinking about my original purpose of gathering my friends. That fear came back full force, settling into the pit of my stomach, chewing away at my mind. One day, I'll no longer see Paige kicking her legs back and forth on our beloved table. I can't just ride up the street to watch Archer play some mad air guitar to the song blowing up our stereo. One day, Quillan won't be close enough for me to laugh at him stealing Vic's cap. I'll be on my own or maybe with new friends, but either way, I'll never be able to spend this time with them all again.

"What's wrong?" A familiar voice asked.

Looking down at Ginger's worried freckled face and dyed burgundy hair, I realized a tear was rolling down my cheek. I touched my face and stared back at her, wondering what to say.

"Oh my god, Bren, you okay?" Paige asked, leaping off the table and to my side.

Archer came over quickly too, the only ones keeping their distance being Vic and Quillan whose brows were furrowed.

"You crying, dude?" Vic sneered rudely earning a jab in the rib from Quillan's elbow. Vic glowered at Quillan for this, but didn't chase him this time, just gave me a concerned look.

Out of embarrassment or possibly genuine sadness, my words came out as a blubbery mess.

"I… we'll… never be like this… again…" I stammered. "I'll miss you guys… miss you so much."

Ginger reached up and wrapped her arms around my neck. I, in turn, hugged her waist. I wasn't crying anymore, but it still felt damn good to be comforted. Someone was rubbing my back, I assume it was Paige because that'd be a weird thing for Archer to do, so he was probably the one sniffling and noisily wiping his face free of snot.

When I was done being a drama queen as Vic was most likely thinking of me as, Archer pat my shoulders.

"Like, don't worry, bro," he said in a strange anti-climatic way, still sniveling a bit. "We'll always stay together and call me 'cause you're, like, one of the chillest guys I know."

It was a big compliment, but Archer's not too cool with words. Being his best friend, I knew what he meant and that we actually might be friends forever. He'd talked to me about this before saying that with technology nowadays it was hard to lose touch with others and that teleportation should be available in 100 years, so if we live that long we'll be set to see each other any time. I don't know if he was serious or not, either way it got me to smile.

For the rest of the night, we laughed more and harder than ever. We cracked more jokes and touched more. Ginger would frequently grab onto my arm or lean against me. Paige laid in my lap and Vic kept high-fiving me like his life depended on it. I was never as close with Quillan as I was the others or as he was with Vic (I don't think anyone was ever as close to Vic as Quillan), but that evening I learned more about him than I ever thought I would know. Archer and Paige playfully kissed and their disgusted faces afterwards were hilarious. Ginger kissed everyone in some way, on the forehead, a peck on the cheek, a gentlemanly pair of lips on the hand. That was normal for Ginger though, a beaming loving girl. It was one of those outings where you come back thinking, 'My friends are awesome.' And my friends were.

"Could you give me a ride home?" Ginger asked Vic, embracing him and smiling her pierced lips up at him.

"Sure," he said, adjusting his cap with a red face.

"Quilly, you're doing the same for me," Paige demanded as she stared at her phone, texting.

"Fine with me," Quillan said. He opened the driver's door then looked to me. "We can throw your bikes in the trunk if you and Archie want rides home." He slapped the truck proudly.

"That'd be cool," I said, picking up my bike.

"Awesome, can we stop by DaeHyun's place too?" Archer asked.

"No," we all said simultaneously making Vic and Archer groan. It wasn't official, but we were pretty sure that DaeHyun kid was Archer's dealer considering the whole school knew they both smoked and he was always popping over at DaeHyun's house when his parents weren't around.

We all said our goodbyes, my stomach turning that one day we'd have to say our last ones, and drove off into the night, a connection lingering and hopefully, never being broken.