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Chris ran, his feet pounding on the ground. Thunder grudgingly pushed through the clouds as Chris sped up and his legs grew tired but he had to keep going, he had to. He could feel the wind whipping past him, smooth and loud in his ears. And then he felt them. They were catching up. He could hear their sharp inhales of air. But he was still farther ahead. Safe.

 

He crossed the finish line.

 

Cheers of triumphant and loss erupted from the stands. He won. Chris won!

 

He leapt into the air, joy overtaking him and throwing him up into the blue of the sky. His smile was full of sun on this pale day and wider than ever, this was his first victory in a while and damn did it feel good.

 

"Chris! You did it!" Screamed his friend waiting at the sidelines to congratulate him. Chris was ecstatic and clearly the other students from his school were too. The cries and roars from the crowd were almost deafening. Who knew so many people loved track and field?

 

The sky was a washed out grey; colours dulled, but spirits still bright. Chris panted rapidly, his chest rising and falling quickly as he tried to slow his beating heart with paced breaths. Running gave him the excitement and exhilaration he needed since he could no longer surf, the waves unlike Australia's, and the itch to restart his life kept him away from his hobby. When he first arrived in America not too long ago, he was a bit disappointed when he realized that surfing wasn't something that the locals did often (as the ocean was a farther than he expected), his board now sitting in the corner of his room collecting dust.

 

That was almost two years ago. Since then Chris had been enrolled in a new school, made some friends pretty quickly, and took up track and field. He was his school's best runner—up until he broke his leg at one of his races. While his leg was healing, Chris started weightlifting and building his muscles significantly (leg exercises done more carefully). His physique drastically changed. From a lean body with toned muscles made for sprinting to bulkier arms and pecs, slim waist with washboard abs, and—as his friends like to call them—thunder thighs. To say the least, Chris was exceptionally happy with his new look. Though it was a bit harder to run with more weight.

 

Chris ran over to his friend, laughing deeply and wrapping his arms around the shorter man. "Jeremy! I did it! Oh my god,  can you believe it?" He laughed again and Jeremy chuckled into his shoulder. They pulled apart and Jeremy gave Chris a solid pat on the back.

 

"Damn kid, you still got it," Jeremy smiled and placed his hands on his hips.

 

"Don't call me kid, you're only a couple of months older than I. And stop standing like that, you look like a fucking proud dad or something," Chris huffed but kept his grin in place. Jeremy was a little strange but Chris liked it, finding his friend amusing and funny, but at times, also mature and confident. Not to mention a pain in Chris' ass,  but that's what best friends are for.

 

Chris had met Jeremy when he first moved here from Australia and had been attending his first day of school, running into him in the hallways—quite literally. It had been an accident of course, Chris was never the type to hurt innocent strangers for his own humor. After apologizing profusely, Chris developed a soft fondness for the smaller boy who blinked rapidly like Chris was the only person who ever tried to talk to him. Jeremy got clingy pretty quickly but Chris liked that Jeremy was able to find a friend in him, the weirdly tall kid with a funny accent. This was the beginning of their cliche friendship.

 

"I am a proud dad!" Cried Jeremy, bringing Chris in for another hug and sobbing fakery into his ear when Chris bent down a bit. "Alright old man, thank you for the fatherly love," Chris chuckled and Jeremy stepped back, a frown on his face.

 

"I'm not old," Jeremy grumbled. "That's what all old people say," Chris teased.

 

"Hey Chris!" Someone from their right yelled, "Could I get your picture for the front page?"

Both of the boys turned to look at the person calling Chris.  He had dirty blond hair, ocean blue eyes and a kind smile that fits him. The camera he was carrying looked new and hung around his neck, large hands holding it lightly.

 

A journalist then, and cute at that, Chris thought. "Yea, alright," he called back, turning to shrug at his friend before running over to where the man with the camera was.

 

"Hey there, name's Chris," other Chris chuckled, "but you can call me Evans. I work for the local newspaper and I'm also in your English class."

 

"Ah yes, I thought I recognized you, Evans," Chris nodded and held out his hand for the other to shake. Evans shook his hand with a firm grip, then let go to stand a few feet away so he could take the photo.

 

"Smile," Evans smirked and then the flash went off with a click.

 

White spots appeared every time Chris blinked. He shook his head and grinned at Evans.

"Thanks for the picture, Hemsy," Evans grinned back and clapped Chris on the back.

 

"You're welcome mate," Hemsworth winked and turned away to go find Jeremy who had seemingly wandered off.

 

Chris found Jeremy talking to some other friends of theirs, laughing and chatting away. He smiled when they noticed him and started congratulating him on the win giving hugs and friendly pats on the back.

 

After the many thank you’s and smiles of gratitude, Chris soon found himself sitting in the driver’s seat of his jeep. He had told his friends that he was going to go home and shower, and then meet up with them at a party that was being hosted later that evening, celebrating their school’s win.

 

The jeep rumbled to life and the short drive to home started, Chris living only 10 minutes away by car. The houses became a blur, partially because he was zoning out and focusing on the road, but also because he may have been a little over the speed limit.

 

Once he was home, he ran up the stairs to the bathroom and closed the door. Undressing quickly before turning the water on, stepping inside the stall right away even though the water didn’t have a chance to heat up yet. Chris washed his body and hair, sighing as the stickiness of his sweat was swept away by the soft pelting of the water. He shut the water off and stepped out into the steam-filled bathroom, grabbing a towel and wrapping it around his hips securely. The squeak of skin against glass sounded throughout the small bathroom, as Chris wiped his hand across the mirror to take in his reflection, glancing at his tired eyes and blond stubble that was beginning to shadow over his jaw. No sense in shaving, it’ll be dark inside the house so no one would notice, Chris thought as he rubbed a large hand over his chin.

 

Chris opened up the bathroom door and stepped out into the hallway, dirty clothes in hand and water dripping down his back from his long hair. He walked to the end of the hall into his room, flicking on the lights and shutting the door behind him. Into the hamper the clothes went and into the closet Chris went, shuffling through various shirts, jumpers, and pants. He finally settled on a blue long-sleeved shirt, black jeans, leather jacket, and his favourite dark brown leather shoes.

 

He chuckled to himself as he remembered what Jeremy had said about his closet and the clothes within it. Jeremy liked to comment on Chris’ choice of clothing, which apparently ranged from “hype 17 year old” to “casual 30 year old city man”. Chris just thought that if he liked what he saw, he got it.

 

Throwing the outfit on, Chris began to hum softly and then walked to his mirror, brushing his blond locks into a bun at the back of his head. Smiling into the mirror, he fixed his jacket and turned to the door, walking out.

 

Spinning around quickly though and grabbing his leather cord necklaces, one with a lightning bolt on it and the other just a woven design. “Can’t forget you two,” Chris grinned and clasped them on.

 

He hopped into his jeep once he was outside, an apple in hand from the kitchen to appease his hunger. The brown vehicle started up and Chris checked the backseat to see if his track bag was still there, making sure to remind himself to bring it into the house when he came back. He drove through the streets, paying attention to the street signs and house numbers to locate his peer’s house. The party was being hosted by some kid in his grade, Chris has never personally met them though so he’d have to give thanks for the celebratory party which was “in honour of Chris Hemsworth, track star!”. Although this was just an excuse to have a party, Chris was still humbled to have his name honoured.

 

The house came into view, teens walking into the large home and some laughing outside having a smoke. Chris had to park his car a bit farther down the street, it seems like there’s more people here than he thought there would be.

 

He locked his car and walked down the sidewalk, his steps long and quiet in the cooling air. Soon he was walking inside and being greeted by the host, a boy just a bit shorter than him and thin with blue dyed hair. Chris thanked him and gave him a side hug, patting him on the back and walking further into the house after a short conversation. He found Jeremy not long after, sitting on one of the bar stools with Scarlett and Robert. Scarlett looked gorgeous in her slim red dress with painted red lips and her blond hair tied up into a classy bun, she was sitting next to Jeremy on another bar stool and enjoying a glass presumably filled with alcohol. Robert also looked very charming in his white dress shirt that had the sleeves rolled up to his elbows and black slacks to form a classy meets casual look with his black hair swept back just a bit. Robert stood next to Jeremy, a cigarette hanging from his lips, when he glanced up and saw Chris, starting to waved him over, a big smile on his face as he brought him into a hug and welcomed him to the party. Jeremy smirked and slapped Chris’ ass, laughing when Chris rolled his eyes and leant down to give Scarlett a peck on the cheek in greeting. Chris took in Jeremy’s attire, he wore a brown jacket over a black shirt with washed out jeans and a pair of timbs. They were all stunning as usual.

 

“How are my lovely friends doing?” Chris chuckled and grabbed the drink Jeremy offered him.

 

“Wonderful my dear Chris!” spoke Robert over the loud music, smoke falling from his mouth.

 

“Robert has already had two coolers so far, it’s going to be a tough morning for this one let me tell ya,” Scarlett winked at Robert and took another sip of her drink to hide her smirk. Chris laughed and listened amusedly as Robert tried to deny just how much he actually drank at these parties.

 

As the four of them talked and enjoyed each other’s presence, people started to whisper and talk about them, noticing that the group of friends decided to show up to a small, ordinary party such as this one. Where they lived, they were considered to be a popular group as all of their parents were well known and made more than decent amounts of money. Chris’ parents were both lawyers who left for business trips around the world, were pretty important people in this business, and kept up good business. Robert’s father was an engineer who enjoyed his work and was able to work on many high paying projects due to his outstanding skills, his mother a nurse at the local hospital who didn’t make quite as much as his father but still wanted to contribute to her family. Scarlett’s dad was a dermatologist who worked in the city connected to their town, her mother was a real estate broker that managed to become popular in her area of expertise. And finally Jeremy’s parents who both worked for the government and had each earned high salaries.

 

If they were all somewhere together, others knew about it. It was strange sometimes but after years of it happening they got used to it. Chris was still adjusting because he only moved here two years ago so it was relatively new to him. The others told him that after a while it gets better.

 

Chris glanced around the room and noticed their friend Mark walking up to them, a beer in hand and his other shoved into the pocket of his dark jeans. His green sweater looked good placed over a light plaid shirt, and his dark hair naturally let curls hang over his forehead. Mark’s parents were both scientists and physicists who worked in a big fancy lab so Mark was obviously also well-off.

 

“Hey Hemsworth,” Mark greeted him and shook his hand, bending over to also give Scarlett a peck on the cheek like Chris did. He then moved on to say hello to Jeremy and Robert.

 

“I booked the place for dinner after at that new restaurant you mentioned Scarlett,” Mark spoke to her as she placed her now empty cup down on the counter.

 

“Thank you Mark, I would have done it but dad came home for a brief moment so I wanted to hang out with him,” she smiled up at him.

 

“It’s all good, no biggie,” he grinned.

 

Jeremy groaned and pretended to cuddle up next to Chris who was smiling the entire time as he drank his alcoholic beverage, feeling the buzz settle in. He wrapped his arms around Chris and started to sway.

 

“Oh Mark! You’re such a gentleman!” Jeremy faked a woman’s seductive voice as he stared up at Chris and batted his eyelashes.

 

“My darling Scarlett! Anything for you!” Chris played along and held onto Jeremy in return, bending down and pretending to make out with his best friend to tease the other two. Robert absolutely cracked up at the scene unfolding before him.

 

Mark started to blush heavily as Scarlett scowled and swatted both of them on the head, telling them to stop acting like children. Chris apologised and rubbed the back of his head, laughing as he did so.

 

“So what place are we going to? And why?” Chris inquired and looked around at his friend, gaze landing on Scarlett as she answered.

 

“Mike’s Steakhouse and Bar, that new place in the city. We’re celebrating all of our friendship tonight, thought it would be a nice way to spend an evening especially with how busy we’ve all been lately,”  she spoke fondly and smiled up at them.

 

Chris smiled back at her and pulled her up into a hug, grateful for his wonderful friends and how they were so thoughtful, “Thank you Scarlett.”

 

“You’re welcome,” Scarlett backed away and her grin became wider as the other boys thanked her for thinking of them.

 

The group continued to talk, joking around and discussing what was happening in their classes so far. After a little bit, they all split up and went to mingle around the house. Robert joined some kids from his Industrial Ed class, striking up conversation about their latest project. Mark found a good friend from his science class, Scarlett got dragged away by some girls who went outside to gossip most likely, Jeremy walked into the kitchen to find another drink, and Chris made his way to the front of the house. He walked past the living room where people were dancing and enjoying themselves, through the hallway filled with couples who were talking or making out, then outside into the fresh, cool air. Chris glanced around and noticed a man leaning against the exterior wall of the house, smoking a cigarette and staring right at him. He had dark hair that was just past his ears and swept back, pale skin a stark contrast. He wore a black leather jacket, black shirt and black pants.

 

He sure loves his dark look. Chris thought and stared back but it was too dark for him to see the stranger’s face.

 

The man nodded at him suddenly, flicked the now done smoke down onto the ground and stepped on it. He walked off the lawn and onto the street, disappearing behind a row of parked cars.

 

Chris shrugged to himself at the strange encounter and went back inside to find his friends after Robert texted him that they were going to leave. A minute later he found them in the exact spot they were in before they separated.

 

“Ready to go, man?” Jeremy asked and Chris nodded, following them out back to the front and outside again, heading to street.

 

“I’m sending you the address Chris,” Mark spoke as he unlocked his phone, the screen illuminating his face.

 

“Thanks mate,” he patted his friends back and told them he’d follow behind them in his jeep. Scarlett waved and got into her car with Robert, Jeremy offering a ride to Mark as he’d walked here from his Aunt who lived a few streets down.

 

Chris hopped into his jeep and started the engine, pulling his phone out of his pocket to check the address and punch it into his GPS. He watched as Scarlett’s 2017 Lincoln Continental (a very nice car which his mum complimented her on every time they saw her) turned into the lane, driving towards Chris’ jeep (2018 Jeep Wrangler, his dad helped him choose and it was indeed the right choice for Chris). She rolled her window down, telling Chris to keep up with them and winking as she took off. Jeremy following in his 1967 Chevy Camaro which Chris remembers helping to fix up with Jeremy and Jeremy’s father when they first became friends. He saluted him and sped off as well.

 

Looking both ways, Chris turned into the correct lane as well and started the drive, accelerating quickly to feel the wind blow over his face through the open window. He zoned out once again after the radio was turned onto some 2000s pop station, the lights around him becoming streaks once he got onto the highway, able to drive faster. The drive into the city from their hometown took about 20 minutes, a short drive but traffic would probably a bit slow due to it being a Friday night.

Once he found the place, he parked next to Jeremy’s car, a space open for him. Mark stepped out of the car as Chris closed his door, Jeremy getting out on the other side of his own car.

 

“Scarlett and Robert already went inside, we wanted to wait for you,” Jeremy said while lighting a cigarette and bringing it up to his lips, taking a long drag. They all began walking together towards the entrance, Chris’ friends chatting with him about something they heard on the radio. A bank was just recently robbed and a few people were killed during the event apparently.

 

Chris shook his head, “People will do anything besides hard work to get money.”

 

Mark agreed and Jeremy laughed, “We hardly work for our money!”

 

“It’s different, we’re going to take over our own family businesses when we’re older and by being handed all this money from our parents, they’re teaching us how to spend it responsibly. Father tells me it’s a good investment, I learn this way supposedly. I mean, we all saved up money that we got for our cars!” Chris concluded and Jeremy snorted but still accepted the idea.

 

Chris grabbed the door handle and pulled it open, holding it for his friends to walk through then walking inside. The place smelled of food, it had a warm atmosphere, a few chandeliers placed around the large interior. Wooden floors were polished and the windows were clear, the view was of the tall buildings across the street and the trimmed bushes outside. It certainly was classy, Chris glad that he decided to put some decent clothes on before the party.

 

They spotted their other friends, the two already seated and fitting right in with their formal wear. Jeremy led them to the table, sitting down beside Robert giving Mark the chance to sit beside Scarlett and winking at him. Mark blushed furiously again and took his seat, leaving Chris to sit beside him and Jeremy. A waiter came over after a short discussion on drinks, taking their order of red wine and beers for the guys.

 

Raising a questioning brow over at Mark, Jeremy asked why they didn’t ask for I.D.

 

“I may have used my dad’s credit card so I think they think I’m an adult and you’re my colleagues or something. I mean what teenagers would come to an expensive place like this?” Mark shrugged and Robert chuckled, shaking his head.

 

“Yeah okay, that’s legit,” Jeremy nodded and they all started browsing their menus.

 

Chris settled on a medium rare steak with mashed potatoes, beans, and garden salad. Just then the waiter came up to their table with the wine and beers, placing the beers around the table in front of the guys. He smiled at Chris, eyeing him openly before asking if they were ready to order their meals.

 

Once their orders were placed, the water smirked at Chris and walked away, hips swaying slightly. The table erupted in laughter a minute later, Chris turning red and telling them to shut up.

 

“He was all over you Chris!” Hollered Robert as he wiped his eyes with his hand, still giggling.

 

“If you wanted to leave early then be my guest,” Scarlett winked over at him and took a sip of her wine.

 

“You guys tease to much,” Chris grumbled as he placed his napkin over his lap, the others following his example.

 

“We just love you man, and plus, you’ve never even had so much as a date the whole two years you’ve lived here,” Jeremy looked at him pointedly.

 

“That’s only because no one has caught my attention yet,” he sighed and looked over at Mark for help.

 

“Hey don’t look at me man, these guys are right. Maybe finding someone will be good for you,” Mark shrugged and took a gulp of his drink. Chris groaned at that, everyone thought the same thing and maybe they were right. But Chris wasn’t interested in anyone, he was too busy focusing on his studies and getting through his last year of highschool to put time into crushing on someone.

 

“Anyways, let’s eat. I’m sure you’re all hungry,” Scarlett picked up her cutlery and began to eat, Jeremy letting out a whoop and digging right in. Robert entertained everyone with stories from parties he attended recently, some events hosted by people his Father worked with or even just parties thrown by teenagers. Either way, some of them were quite hilarious and they all enjoyed themselves.

 

Mark sighed contentedly, “That food was so good.”

 

“The wine was also amazing,” said Chris who placed his napkin down on his place, finishing off the last of his beer.

 

“Any dessert?” Their waiter appeared beside Chris, looking around the table and then stopping to look into Chris’ eyes.

 

“Umm I think we’re good, right guys?” Chris questioned and looked at everyone, noticing they were all grinning creepily. He shot them a look that basically meant don’t say anything unrelated to dessert you little shits.

 

“I think we’re fine,” Scarlett was the one to voice her opinion and got a nod of approval from everyone else. The waiter smiled at her and gathered their dishes with the help of another nearby waiter.

 

“Alright I’ll grab the bill then,” he walked away after that.

 

Scarlett let out a little squeal of delight from their interaction. Chris rolled his eyes and Robert mimicked Scarlett.

 

“Stark, don’t start too,” Chris rubbed jaw and chuckled.

 

The table had another bout of laughter before the waiter came back with bill and bid them a goodnight, winking at Chris as they all stood up to leave. The meal was already charged to Mark’s dad’s credit card so they just left the restaurant, heading to their cars across the parking lot.

 

“Chris!” screamed Mark, “He put his number on the back of the receipt!”

 

Mark shoved the piece of paper into his hands and the group let out a chorus of “ooo”s.

 

“You’re all terrible,” Chris sighed but stuffed the receipt into his pocket anyways. Scarlett gave him a look but Chris just brushed it off and pulled her to his side, arm around her shoulders as she wasn’t wearing a coat.

 

In their group no one was ever jealous of another, they had all they wanted and if someone achieved just a bit more than the other then they were congratulated and praised for their work. Everyone was close enough to share even their darkest secrets and were free to act as they wanted around each other. It wasn’t uncommon that at least two of them in the group had some kind of physical contact going on, like hugging or in this case an arm around a shoulder. Even Jeremy wanted to cuddle with some of them sometimes. Chris liked that his friends never put labels on each other and treated everyone equally, they really were great people and never put themselves above others just because their families have more money than other families. Together they were unstoppable, Chris considered them his apart of his family.

 

They got to their cars and big their goodnights to everyone, giving hugs and the boys gave Scarlett a kiss on the cheek in thanks for planning such a lovely night. Chris shook Robert’s hand then pulled him into a hug, doing the same to Mark and Jeremy after.

 

He got into his jeep and waited until everyone else left, making sure they were all good for the trip back home. As he drove home, Chris kept thinking about that stranger he saw at the party, he’d admittedly been on his mind ever since. There was something about him that seemed familiar yet foreign. It was weird and confused Chris.

 

Probably just some déjà vu or whatever. He began to think about what he was going to do tomorrow, his parents were gone for a business trip currently in New York so Chris had the house to himself.

 

The drive home seemed shorter than before and he was suddenly parked in his driveway, turning the car off and stepping out. He remembered to get his bag from the backseat, opening the door and taking it out. He closed the door and locked the car, sorting the keys on his key ring for his house key.

 

He walked up the steps to the front door and unlocked the door, stepping inside the house and flicking the lights on. The lights came on and he looked around the entrance, dropping his keys on the table near the door and took off his shoes, making sure to lock the door after. He threw his bag on the staircase and strided into the large kitchen, strolling around the island and to the fridge. Chris grabbed a bottle of water and closed the fridge, turning back and walking back out of the kitchen.

 

The living room was his next stop, turning the lights on there and plopping down onto the big brown couch. He grabbed the remote and turned on the TV, flipping through the channels before landing on a sports channel featuring hockey.

 

“Canadian’s are great,” mumbled  Chris to himself while smiling a little as he set down the remote beside him. He opened up the water bottle and took a few gulps, loving the feeling of water quenching his sudden thirst.

 

After a while, the sounds from the TV were starting to lull him to sleep, Chris felt himself drifting off. Consciousness slipping from him as his eyes closed and he fell asleep.



“Chris, oh my dear Chris.”

 

“Who is that? Where are you?” Chris spoke into the hazy dark of the room. Or maybe he was outside?

 

“Don’t think me a bad person, my love. I’d never hurt you, please don’t leave me Chris,” the voice rang through his ears. Deep, raspy, and emotional. They were crying.

 

“What are you talking about?” he became confused, what was happening?

 

“They keep talking to me, telling me things I don’t want to hear anymore. I hate it, I hate when they begin to speak and it seems like no other sound is present. I drown in their shouts and whispers, their taunts and torments are driving me mad. Do you think me insane?”

 

Chris sighed and gave up trying to figure out what was going on, instead he decided to sit down on what was presumably the ground.

 

“No I do not think you’re insane,” Chris whispered and suddenly felt a cold hand on his cheek, brushing a strand of hair from his face. He oddly didn’t feel startled, he only felt the coldness of the touch move down to trace his lips. A sigh escaped him and he listened to the quiet for a few minutes.

 

“How do I know I’m really not dreaming?” Chris questioned, his sense of what was reality and apart of a dream became blurred.  It all felt so real.

 

Suddenly the cold touch disappeared and Chris stood up. He looked around frantically.

 

“Where did you go? Hello?” He spoke loudly, trying to see something in the darkness. He turned around and found an old red phone sitting on a table a few metres away.

 

It started to ring.

 

Chris tried to walk towards the phone but his knees felt heavy, not wanting to move, weighing him to ground. He fell and tried to stand back up, starting to sweat from how hard this was proving to be. He reached out and grabbed ahold of the table ledge, pulling himself up enough to pick up the phone and bring it to his ear.

 

“We’ll meet again soon my love.”

 

Chris wanted to speak, wanted to ask what that means. But it’s like someone robbed him of his voice.

 

Silence. Then the sound of someone hanging up, the static growing louder each second.

 

It was agonizing, the ringing in his ears from the static became too much to bare. He covered his ears and screamed. Or maybe he didn’t, he doesn’t know anything anymore. Then it all stopped and he fell over.