“JEREMY HEERE GET YOUR SORRY ASS DOWN HERE OR I’LL LEAVE WITHOUT YOU!”
Jeremy called out that he was coming while tugging on a striped shirt and his favorite blue cardigan and running down the stairs at the same time. That probably wasn’t the best idea, because he ended up slipping and falling down the last few steps on his ass.
With a groan of pain, Jeremy got up and skidded out the front door, rushing towards Michael’s PT Cruiser and hopping inside. He barely had time to shut the car door before Michael took off down the road. Michael automatically made to turn on his playlist, but Jeremy shook his head.
“It’s my turn, dude,” he insisted, “You owe me. I saved you from getting hit in the face during lunch last Friday.”
“Yeah, because we’re friends.” Michael rolled his eyes, making to connect his phone to the Bluetooth do baker he'd had specially installed in his car.
“No way,” Jeremy stayed firm, “I didn’t take a glob of mashed potatoes in the eye for nothing.”
With a sigh, the Filipino boy gestured for his friend to start his music. He immediately regretted this when the show tunes started.
“What do you do when the quest had ended? What do you do when the battle’s won. So many questions left unanswered. So many thing still left undone.”
“Come on, dude,” Michael groaned, “I swear, hanging around Christine has turned you into a total theater nerd. What even is this musical?”
Jeremy giggled slightly at his best friend, “One day you will join us. Come to the theater side, we have candy canes and Glen Coco is getting four of them.”
Michael blinked, “That was a reference, wasn’t it?”
“Maybeeee?” Jeremy said slowly before moving on, “This is The Lightning Thief Musical. It’s awesome!”
Michael shrugged, “If you say so.”
“Just give it a try? For me?”
“Fine,” Michael finally grumbled, listening to the song play. It actually wasn’t that bad. He couldn’t tell Jeremy that though, so he just said simply, “Meh.”
“I knew you’d like it!” Jeremy grinned.
After a few more songs that Michael grudgingly admitted were actually pretty good, the two boys arrived at Middleborough High, also known as Hell.
With a sigh Michael and Jeremy went their separate ways to their first block classes.
The day had gone by pretty quickly for a change, and Jeremy now found himself standing in the school auditorium, waiting to be called in for his audition. For the school musical. This year they were going to be performing West Side Story and Jeremy was really hoping to play either Riff or Tony. He doubted it was going to happen, but he could dream.
“Jeremy Heere?” a voice called out.
Jeremy took a deep breath and walked inside. He could do this. He had memorized the song he wanted to sing.
“Hello, my name is Jeremy Heere and I will be singing….OW!” Jeremy was cut off in the middle of his slate by a sharp pain on the base of his neck. “SHIT!”
“Language Mr. Hee-” Mr. Reyes, the drama teacher, trailed off, looking up at Jeremy. “Don’t move.”
“Spider on your neck,” Mr. Reyes explained, causing Jeremy to go rigid immeadiety.
A while later, the spider jumped down. Jeremy relaxed slightly, his neck still hurting like fuck from that spider bite. He hoped it wasn’t poisonous. As if on cue, right after that thought, Jeremy got really dizzy and blacked out.
Jeremy woke up to see a blinding white light above him. Instantly, he squeezed his eyes shut again. Why was it so bright? Was he dead?
Jeremy heard Michael’s distinct chuckle from above him and sighed in relief. He wasn’t dead. Where were other places with extremely bright lights? Schools? Hospitals? He was most likely in a hospital, because he doubted they would have left him in the school building after he blacked out.
With a groan, Jeremy opened his eyes again, muttering a curse when the light above him practically blinded him. “Why the fuck is it so bright?” he grumbled, turning to the side and yelping at the pain in his neck.
“You okay there Jere?” asked a voice from the other side of his bed. It was the voice of Christine Canigula, one of his closest friends. Michael was still his closet and nothing would ever change that.
“Noooooo,” Jeremy grumbled sitting upright, ignoring the dizziness and protests from his friends. “Why do spider bites hurt so much?”
“Uh, because the one that bit you was poisonous?” Michael crossed his arms, “How did you manage to literally almost die while auditioning for West Side Story?”
“Such is the luck of Jeremiah Heere,” Jeremy grumbled, looking around the room, “any idea where my dad is?”
Christine frowned, “He had to leave. I think he was behind on work or something.”
“But while he was here,” Michael grinned, “he was wearing pants!”
Jeremy chuckled slightly at this, “I don’t think the hospital people would’ve let him in without them. Patients are the only people who don’t wear pants here.”
“And may I just say, that hospital gown really brings out your eyes.”
Jeremy stuck his tongue out at his two friends while they laughed hysterically. Then, his eyes fell upon a pile of cards and teddy bears on his bedside table. That was odd. There weren’t many people at school that Jeremy thought would care enough about him to send that kind of thing.
“Who are all these from?” Jeremy asked, gesturing to the pile of gifts.
“Everyone at school has been worried,” Christine smiled, “almost everyone at least. Madeline thinks you’re faking this for attention, but Madeline can’t talk. Her French accent is awful.”
Jeremy raised an eyebrow, “Have they been worried about me, or worried that it might hurt their image if they don’t pretend to be upset that I almost died?”
Michael sighed, “Seeing as you’ll most definitely find cards from Chloe Valentine and Jake Dillinger in that pile, I suspect the latter.”
“Stop being so negative you two!” Christine insisted, “I don’t know about Chloe, but Jake really isn’t that bad!”
“I was just bitten by a poisonous spider, Christine,” Jeremy said seriously, “I think I’m allowed to be negative if I want to be.”
“And I’m Jeremy’s wallowing buddy. Whenever he’s feeling the teen angst it’s my job to be negative and wallow with him,” Michael chuckled, “or at least fifty percent of the time. Jeremy is too angsty for me to do it more than that.”
“Hey!” Jeremy called out, playfully glaring at Michael who was laughing hysterically again. Christine was also chuckling, even though Jeremy was sure she still wanted him to be more positive.
Those were Michael and Christine’s jobs. Michael wallowed with him if he was feeling negative and tried to make him look on the bright side. Sometimes, Christine actually managed to make him feel happier about what was going on in his life, and wallowing with Michael while high off their asses in the Mell family basement was always a good way to make his feelings seem smaller. It may have seemed like an odd system, but it worked and Jeremy wasn’t complaining.