"get out of my way, loser." jeremy pushed past michael, their shoulders bumping together as jeremy pushed past his heartbroken best friend. michael watched the door slam behind jeremy, leaving only him and his own thoughts alone in this surprisingly clean bathroom. he stood there in shock, trying to wrap his mind around what had just happened.
it was all a blur. first, it was michael laying in the bathroom and writing angrily on a sheet of paper that he found in a pocket of his hoodie, then he was yelling at jeremy, and now here he was, just a complete loser sitting here in jake dillinger's bathroom. he could faintly hear people cheering from the other side of the door, but it was nothing compared to the pounding of his heart.
"i am hanging in the bathroom at the biggest party of the fall," michael began to sing quietly. music had always been something he turned to, which is one of the reasons you couldn't find him without his big white headphones around his neck, but he never sang in front of people. it was strictly forbidden, and criticism was not accepted. michael knew he didn't have the pipes of a god, so he just sang when he was alone with his moms. they've seen everything, so he didn't really care.
jeremy wandered around the party, occasionally bumping into someone, who just gave him a dirty look before going back to what they were doing. the squip had shut off after the drink that brooke practically shoved down his throat, but he was sober enough that the alcohol didn't control him. dad would have my ass if he found out that i had passed out at a party, jeremy thought to himself as he leaned against the wall.
the music suddenly shut off. "who the fuck is singing?" jake's words were slightly slurred together as he held a cup of beer tightly in his right hand. jeremy could hear faint singing coming from the bathroom when everything quieted down.
"i'm a creeper in a bathroom, 'cause my buddy kind of left me alone. but i'd rather fake pee than stand awkwardly, or pretend to check a text on my phone." michael. jeremy's breath hitched, his hands balling up into fists. "everything felt fine when i was half of a pair, now through no fault of mine, there's no other half there," jeremy blocked the thought of michael's voice being very angelic. not was not the time to think about that, because this was all his fault.
"wow, that guy is having a fun time, glad he's enjoying the party," rich cackled, throwing his head back drunkenly with laughter. jeremy bit his lip, digging his fingernails into his palms, squeezing his eyes shut.
"jeremy?" brooke's voice somehow filtered through all of the thoughts that were plaguing jeremy's head.
"oh, yeah, i'm fine." everyone was whispering now, mostly about the mysterious dude who was belting out lyrics in the bathroom. chloe skipped over to the door, knocking on it loudly.
"hey, open up!" she yelled, hoping to get some kind of reaction out of him. jeremy recoiled, resisting the urge to go push her out of the way and break into the bathroom.
"no you can't come in!" michael sang, "i'm waiting it out 'til it's time to leave, and picking at grout as i softly grieve." jeremy's heart ached. you called him a loser, jeremy, you fucking idiot. one moment without the squip and you've already made michael mell, your friend of twelve years, sob his heart out in front of a bunch of popular kids. he's never gonna see the end of this and it's all your fault. the voice in his head slowly transformed into michael's voice as it kept repeating itself over and over, you fucked up, but i guess that's not a change.
"i'm just michael who you don't know, michael flying solo, michael in the bathroom by himself!" he shouted, and jeremy could hear the sound of michael hitting the wall of the bathtub with his hands.
"wow, 'michael' appears to be talking in third person. ah, this is only going to get better," jake sat down on the couch, sipping his drink as he propped his feet up on the coffee table. "encore!" he called out jokingly.
the singing continued for some time, michael's voice only getting harder and more painful to listen to. the seconds crawled by, and jeremy wasn't sure how much longer he could take it. he took a shaky breath, trying to calm his thoughts, but it didn't do much. "i wish i stayed at home in bed, watching cable porn," that got laughs out of many of the party-goers, "or wish i offed myself instead, wish i was never born!" he was belting out the lyrics now, his voice cracking. jeremy could just imagine his chest heaving as he struggled to sing and breathe and the tears streaming down his cheeks. he could imagine the crescents that were now imprinted into his dark skin from his bitten fingernails.
jeremy shivered, shaking his head. "nope, nope," he whispered to himself, not really caring if he looked insane. nobody was even watching him, anyway, so it was okay. he had caused michael to wish that he was never born, and that made him feel like he wasn't worthy of his place on earth or on the school social map. he'd pushed his best friend down just so he could climb on top and soar throughout the skies of his own little world, and in that moment, he wished there was an 'undo' button that goes back to before he'd ever listened to rich. he may not be cool, but he didn't have to live with the guilt of leaving michael behind. plus, he didn't even take into consideration the huge crush he had on the boy, just threw him into the trash like another piece of garbage he didn't want to deal with anymore.
"i'm just michael, who's a loner, so he must be a stoner, rides a pt cruiser, god, he's such a loser!" michael's voice cracked, almost giving way, but he powered through, "michael flying solo, who you think that you know, michael in the bathroom by himself," he stomped his feet.
everyone was completely silent. "fuck, that's deep," jake finally broke the silence. he seemed to have sympathy for someone for once, and jeremy finally decided that he had enough.
he sprinted over to the door, trying to twist the handle. it was locked, so he pounded on the door as an alternative. "michael mell, open this door right fucking now!"
"why should i, jeremiah heere?" michael spat back, venom lacing every word. "i'm just a loser, right? your nerd best friend who's just another thought it the wind now that you have a tic tac bitch in your head?"
jeremy winced at the usage his full name, hand tightening on the door handle. his grip was so tight, his knuckles were turning white. "michael, please-"
"jeremy, stop trying to make everything okay!" michael screamed, his voice cracking painfully. there was a loud sniffle from the other side of the door, and jeremy closed his eyes as he rested his forehead on the door. "you replaced me with a supercomputer, throwing away twelve years of friendship just to be fucking cool! do you know how the feels?"
"no, i don't," jeremy whispered, and he doubted that michael could even hear him. his heart pounded in his chest, his brain feeling like it was going to explode.
"jeremy," he shrugged off the hand that was placed on his back when everything went silent.
"brooke, please," brooke patted his shoulder and followed his request, stepping back to stand next to chloe. everyone in the room was completely silent, watching a wannabe-loser and a heartbroken pining best friend battle.
"you remember that magic card the you got me for my birthday that no one else remembered?" michael asked, his voice quiet and timid.
"yeah," jeremy replied slowly, frowning when he heard a sad chuckle from the other side of the door.
"i burned it. also the weird al concert tickets. they didn't matter anymore, because if you were throwing me in the trash, i suppose i should do the same to you and all our memories," jeremy covered his mouth to muffle the small sob that escaped his mouth.
"it's too late. jeremy, you fucked up big time, and you can't repair it like you did all the other times. you lost me, so have fun being cool, i guess."
"michael, please," jeremy begged, trying to turn the knob again.
that was a few weeks ago. jeremy had been miserable ever since. he'd actually gotten sympathy from everyone that was at the party, especially rich and jake, who he didn't even know had an drop of sympathy in both of them combined. brooke always checked in on him, making sure he was okay, because she genuinely loved him. jeremy was out of it, though, still heartbroken over the fact that this was all his fault.
jeremy began to worry when he hadn't seen michael in about a week. he would always see michael sulking in the hallways, head looking down at his feet, blocking out the world with his signature white headphones.
he sat in the bathroom at lunch instead of sitting with jake, rich, chloe, jenna, and brooke. he locked the stall door behind him as he sat down on the closed toilet seat, letting out a breath through his nose as he dialed the numbers of michael's home number.
the phone rang for a few seconds before someone picked up. "hello?"
"oh, uh, hey, it's jeremy," he stuttered out, grabbing and tugging at the ends of his hair. "is michael there? i haven't seen him around and i wanted to check if he's alright." there was this thought that was looming in the back of his head. what if michael killed himself? it would be all your fault.
his nightmare that he had had for the past few nights became a reality within just a few words. "oh, j-jeremy, h-he..." his mother trailed off, but quickly cleared her throat, "he's gone," she whispered.
jeremy hung up, burying his head into his hands as he let the information sink in. he couldn't believe it. michael, one of the most go-lucky dudes he had ever met was now gone because of him. he sobbed into his hands, not caring if anyone walked in.
michael mell was gone forever and jeremy heere loved him.
"christine!" jeremy called through the house, scratching his jaw, which was rough with stubble.
"yes, dear?" she called back, and she seemed to read her husband's mind without him having to say anything. she was so good at that, jeremy almost found it terrifying. it was useful in some situations, though. the door to the office swung up and there stood christine and his daughter in her arms.
"having a bad day?" christine asked as she handed myla to jeremy, who held the toddler close to his chest.
he hummed in response, leaning back in his chair. "it's all my fault, chris. it was so long ago, i don't even know why it's still affecting me, but it is. michael is gone because of me." he said with a frown. christine just sighed and kissed the top of his head, running a hand through his brown hair.
"jeremy, it's not your fault, trust me. hey, why don't you get away from the boring work and we can go on a little family outing together?"
"okay," jeremy agreed, smiling.
any thought of michael hurt like hell, but jeremy knew that he would be fine.