Anthem drives along the highway, and Mac's album is playing on loop. I hum along to some of the lyrics. Sometimes I hear the songs when nothing's even playing. It's the soundtrack to my life at this point, and I'm fine with that.

"How are you feeling?"

Anthem nods, and puts his arm out the window. "I feel good. As good as I can, at least."

"Thank god."

He smiles. "They started kicking in maybe an hour after I took them. It was the best feeling."

"Good. How are your parents acting?"

His smile drops. Not a shock. "They're moping around, begging me to forgive them. I'm glad they're sorry, but I'm not ready to talk to them." He shifts the car into a higher gear. "Won't be for a long time."

"Don't," I say. "They don't deserve it."

"I know," he says. "I used to want them to understand me. To... I don't know, get what I'm going through. And maybe they will someday, but I'm not going to waste my breath trying to get through to them anymore. It's not fair to me. I'm the one suffering, not them. I shouldn't have to fight my parents and my own brain at the same time."

"And you say I'm the smart one."

He laughs. "You still are. I'm after your title, though."

"Yeah, we'll see about that."

He pulls into his driveway, and I see his dad and his mom's cars are gone. I don't ask him about them. I don't care where they are.

"What was your GPA last year?"

"Four point five," I say.

"Okay, maybe you can stay the smart one."

I laugh and pound my fist on the dashboard. The CD skips.


"It sounded cool. Do it again."

I pound on the dashboard again, and the beat skips a few times.

"Nice," I say. "We could be producers."

He laughs and gets out of the car. I do too, but I don't go up to the house. I walk over to his side of the car, where he's leaning against his door and staring out at the farm. I lean back next to him, and put my hands in my pockets, just like he's doing.

"I'm so glad I moved here, Levi. Seriously."

"Me too."

"I know I'll go back to New York to visit my friends and everything, but... there's something different about Overbrook. I don't think I could move back there from here. It would be too much. I'd know what I'm missing."

"I'll probably have to go to New York a lot," I say. "Jonathan and Angela have a promotion schedule drawn up already. You can come with me."

"I doubt that. They probably have one ticket for you in coach."

I snicker. "So I'll make them get another one."

He looks at me. "You really wanna travel all over the country with me?"

"Yeah. Of course I do. I want to go everywhere with you."

He smiles and hooks his arm around my waist, then pulls me over to him. I step around and stand facing him. Our eyes meet, and he looks happy. Actually happy, not medicated happy. And I know it won't last, but that's okay. Nothing lasts, except this. This, what we have, it's going to last. I'm not a fortune teller, but I can see that. I can see it in his eyes.

"I love you," he says. He kisses me lightly.

"I love you."

He kisses me again, lightly, and I kiss him back, with more... gusto. More energy. He squeezes tighter around me, and I swing my arm around his shoulders. When I'm close to him like this, I don't feel crazy, or drugged, or hyperactive, or anything like that. I don't feel completely at peace, and I don't think I ever will. I don't think that's possible. I pull back, turn around and start running. I run past his house and out into the field, and I hear his footsteps pounding after me until he gets into the grass too. I hear the swish of the plants as we trample through them, and I feel a laugh coming up out of my throat over the heavy breathing. My body's doing overload. I need to start skating more to get back into shape.

Anthem jumps on my back, and I fall face-first into the grass. I roll around a bunch until I stop, and I'm laughing harder than I've ever laughed before. This is the closest I've gotten to pure happiness as my new self, my medicated self. Anthem crawls over to me, a big, dumb grin on his face, and falls on top of me, his face pressed against my chest. We're both heaving, sucking air into our lungs, and it feels great. Right now, I don't feel free. I never will be, not fully. Neither will he.

But we're close.


Haha thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed reading as much as I did writing. Till next time! I'm actually almost done writing a new story, so... that should be up soon, maybe? I dunno. You'll see, haha. Bye!