"Oh, C'mon, Way. One night. One party. Accompany me?"
Miles was easy to persuade - that's just who he was. Waylon usually gave in, and Waylon could already tell that would be the case once again. Miles could see it, too, which caused him to follow up his words with a sly smile. The blonde's eyes were furrowed whilst looking at his friend, shaking his head with a rather somber sigh.
"If I go," Waylon started, tugging at the sleeves of his sweater. He was in the midst of thinking. There really wasn't a way to punish him, was there? "If I go, you owe me a nice dinner. With a bill higher than the planes." The words practically came out within a huff, and the brunette shined a signature movie star smile. "It's a deal, babe." Miles hummed oh-so-gentle, but the words partially annoyed Waylon. It really, really wasn't his intention to spend the majority of his Friday night at Blaire’s. Oh, god, Blaire. Waylon would've rather puked, but Miles' way with words had won him over.
How Miles was even invited was way beyond him. Maybe Chris had been invited to go? That seemed like the only reasonable explanation. Although, Miles may be trying to sneak in, and Miles knew Waylon was indirectly invited to every party he hosted. Blaire always making sure that, when he had the opportunity to speak about one of his shindigs, Waylon would hear from his seat. Though he knew the chances of Waylon coming was slim, but he would be humored for the night. So long as Miles was to come, and it felt like everyone was aware Miles would do anything for some blackmail and beer. The theatre stage made everything feel even more ominous, even with Miles practically sprawled out beside him. Rehearsals were over, but Waylon's inward discomfort was not. It wouldn't be for a while.
Miles must've noticed, which was proven when Waylon heard the obvious sounds of his leather jacket rumpling up, and the feeling of a rather tight side hug. It was obviously an apology hug, but it didn't dismiss Waylon from where they would be tonight. The tan boy placed his head on the teen's shoulder, a small smile to ease the tension. "Listen, I'll get you your fancy dinner, and I won't ask you to come to another party for a while."
"At least two months?"
"More like 3, if that's what you'd like." It was doubtful, but honey eyes shut and nodded gently. Slightly more relaxed, but not much. It caused his friend to grin goofily. Waylon had always envied his stupid, goofy grin. "I'll make sure you're home before 12, plus, who's to say it won't suck ass?" Miles mumbled, and it earned a small chuckle. "Where is it located?"
"The Hope House."
"... The Hope House?"
"Mhm, home of Billy Hope from a few years back." the more confident friend grinned, causing the other to get a small chill. It all occurred to Waylon that Miles really, really wanted to go. For the sake of all of the conspiracies, and the ones he had made up about the Hope family. Miles had an unhealthy obsession with the circumstances of the Hope family's sudden disappearance.
On the contrary, he hated that house. A house, no, a mansion practically, located on top of a mountainous hill in their home of Leadville, Colorado. Everyone at their school was acquainted with it, and if they weren't, they most likely lived on the other side of the district. Jeremy must've been out of his mind to host a party there. It was abandoned, or so everyone thought, but the Blaire family would own anything for a sense of superior status. The price was low, no one could understand why if the previous family's boy just went missing, but no one questioned it. The news around the house, past and present, must've been the lower cost, despite its rather gothic beauty. Alluring, even.
Waylon really, really didn't have the ability to complain. He didn't live in it, so it was fine. One night in the god-forsaken house should be fine. Thus, when Waylon's mother came to pick him up, he confirmed he'd show up, so Miles had someone to drag him home if he ended up high, wasted, or both. It was truly unpredictable.
It didn’t take long for Miles to begin the torment. It all started with scandalous locker scribbles, and perhaps a bit more than that. Picture after picture depicting how Waylon could die. Picture after picture of his face cut out and pasted onto pornographic pictures. At first, Waylon didn’t understand. That was before he noticed him by Blaire’s side, however. Miles’ seemed to cackle whenever Waylon saw the pictures.
He began to carry only his book bag to class. He would no longer use his locker at all. No matter how many times Waylon tried to report it, it was always excused. It wasn’t far fetched to say that that whole group had told the counselor that Waylon was delusional. As soon as Waylon left his locker, he would do a loop around the school, and everything was gone.
During that time, Waylon confided to Langermann. Blake was helpful, keeping his head screwed on tight when he felt like he might break down. Blake didn’t take bullshit, and he surely didn’t settle well on what Miles had directed himself into. No one seemed to notice that his eyes were no longer a grey-green. They seemed almost neon the closer you looked.
Deciding to walk seemed to be better for the male. It helped him clear his thoughts before he'd, inevitably, find himself in a social situation he'd still not been very accustomed to. Lisa tried to help, but it was always the same result, with Waylon having a panic attack and needing to leave immediately. Showing up wasn't that bad, though. It seemed more low-key than he was expecting, but that settled fine with him. So long as it stayed this way, the blonde was sure it would turn out fine.
He did end up speaking to Jeremy, whose grin just made the night feel a little worse than when he had first arrived, but he never commented. Jeremy hardly talked to him, and Waylon returned the same actions. It was fine, mediocre at best.
It had only been about an hour or so before he heard Miles call his name, grinning like an idiot, and Waylon replied with a smaller smile.
It had been that moment that Miles jogged up to Waylon, wrapping his arm into an unintentional headlock. “The man of the hour! He arrived!” The male cheered, and his blonde companion wasn’t sure what to do, causing a slightly awkward chuckle in reply. “Yeah, yeah. It’s me.” and Miles’ quick kiss on the cheek, intercepted by a mocking ‘no homo’, was quickly followed up with words that Waylon wouldn’t expect.
“So, about this house,” Miles began, and Waylon’s ears would’ve perked to it if they could.
“What about it?”
“The attic or the basement first?” Miles still kept his grin, and his eyes had definitely shone some semblance of excitement. Waylon didn’t like it one bit. “Miles, I know you want to find yourself investigating this place,”
“Why else did I come? You know I only go to Frank and Chris’ parties. These kinds… Well, usually are much worse.”
“I don’t want to.”
“Cutieee, Babyyy... I’m going to need someone to guard for me, dontcha know?”
“... You should be lucky I put up with you.”
“And I am thankful,” Miles bowed to his princely friend. His friend whom, despite his best efforts to seem angry, obviously wasn’t having it. But that didn’t bother Miles. He’d snuggle him back in his room later on.
Waylon didn’t want to take comfort, however, in the fact that his best friend was willing to risk Jeremy beating the living hell out of him if he was caught snooping. Miles also seemed to shift his weight all onto one foot, humming in a suspicious manner. “Or, at least, distract Jere-Bear for me? Please? Keep him off my tail,” was what left Miles’ mouth, and Waylon seemed to be a little upset by those choices of words. He never really was fond of Jeremy. He wasn’t completely ruined by how wealthy he was, but Waylon still didn’t appreciate his attitude.
He didn’t want to admit that there was something that kept attracting him back to the impulsive wreck of Miles Upshur. It was annoying how much he was his go-to damage control. It was annoying, as well, to know that Miles was dragging him somewhere just for a story he could plaster on every wall, every door, every crevice of the school. Perhaps titled, ‘The Hope Mansion Truth!’.
Yet, There he was, 15 minutes later guarding the door to the basement. Waylon was sure that, somewhere, there were cameras. It was a rich, family house— it wouldn’t be shocking whatsoever. It made a feeling of dread even worse for Waylon, that either way he and Miles may end up in trouble.
It didn’t help when some wasted people seemed to waltz by, most prominently pairs, definitely under the influence more and more as minutes went by, giggling, cutting up without a care in their minds. Flirting, chatting, cutting up. Waylon didn’t really like it - he wished he had a reason to ditch Miles, but he couldn’t do that. He couldn’t leave Miles. Sure, he was impulsive, an ugly type of sarcastic, and overall selfish, but it didn’t stop Waylon from remembering just why, and how, Miles had come to associate with the more tired, laid back boy. It was worth it, even if he had to do this kind of stupid shit for him.
What happened next, Blake couldn’t help with whatsoever. Waylon began to wake up every day, dreading returning to school. Regretting to show his face. He began to grow scars on his arms, no one was sure if it was self-inflicted or if someone else had done it to him. Insults got verbal now, words showed up into the whole scenario.
Rumors claiming that Park had been sucking off a few for money and if the pay was high enough, having his own round of sex with students. Desperate for money, because his mother in the past few months had passed away. He and his dad had struggled for money, downsizing his home or whatnot. Selling his body to help support his father. It was, apparently, laughing material to all. Waylon had quit theatre. The truth is that he had been working at the old diner, and he saw the same group Miles was in every day.
He laughed. Despite Miles being poor, he laughed. He enjoyed seeing Waylon in misery. They would order, and they would nitpick. The owner of the place was as insane as it was when he was making ‘mistakes’ left and right, he found himself in a pit. He didn’t even try to defend himself anymore, and the day he got fired, all he did was give a nod. He was never one to talk back anyway. For the first time in years, he missed Miles Upshur.
It was only after an hour that Waylon began to get worried. He hadn’t even realized it had been an hour, he had been too distracted on his phone. He didn’t even hear Miles, which made everything much, much worse. Miles was extremely loud in steps and investigating. Sly, yes, but not peaceful.
At that point, it was only 10 PM, but it felt like it might as well be 3 AM instead. He hated it immensely. He wanted to leave, and it didn’t help to think that Jeremy had begun eyeing him. It persisted for another 15 minutes, no sign of Miles coming back up, and that was when Jeremy finally made sly steps closer. Assessing Waylon, perhaps wondering why he seemed so keen on staying near the basement. Those ice eyes made Waylon uncomfortable, even sending chills, but he didn’t move.
He didn’t ever comment on it. If he was honest, he was sick of the jokes. Jokes that Blaire had asked him out once as discreetly as he could, only for it to backfire. Not only did Waylon say no, but somehow, everyone seemed to find out. For Blaire to earn the courage to ask him out was sweet, but it quickly turned bitter when bits and pieces of hostility he had been keeping in began to get directed at Waylon. Heavily, too.
It was obvious Jeremy understood just where, and why, Miles might be in the mansion. More importantly, he hated that Jeremy assumed Miles would leave him alone for hours just to get an inside look of the creepier aspects of the house. All for a story. All for some publicity. He just narrowed his eyes, annoyed, and looked back down. Jeremy didn’t know what he was saying. He didn’t even know Miles, who was he to even speak? He had crawled under the theatre tech’s skin, made him uncomfortable. Irritated.
If only he had known what Jeremy’s problem was. If only he had an answer as to what had been taking Miles so long in a hell-on-earth basement. If only he had known what had happened, and what would transpire in his future. If only he knew, Miles would...
That’s when he heard heavy footsteps up the stairs, but it was obvious they moved just as quickly as Miles. There was no doubt in his mind. He waited. He didn’t want to open the door, he wanted Miles to open it and see just how angry he was. He made sure of it, already looking back to his device, furrowing his brows in preparation. Petty, but Miles deserved to see him upset.
When the door opened, and Miles’ silhouette came into view, Waylon truly felt like getting violent. He didn’t, but he wanted to. Though, Miles looked rather dirty. Waylon wasn’t sure how to describe it. His clothes seemed fine, if anything, a little messy and undone, but it was his skin that made him begin to wonder. Just what had occurred down there? Waylon considered shoving past him to insist to see what had been down there, but Miles said words he wasn’t sure he had ever heard Miles say before in a serious tone. Especially at a party.
“Let’s go home.”
It startled Waylon, even though there was nothing truly disturbing about them minus the tone. It didn’t matter, either way, it unsettled him. “Miles,”, Waylon began, but wasn’t sure how to continue, “... What happened down there?”
“Let’s go home.”
“I don’t want to stay here much longer, we’ll get someone to drive us.”
“Everyone’s drunk! Did you forget? We’re at a party!”
“No,” Miles seemed unsettled to his own degree but tried not to show it. However, after that, Waylon began to realize the shaking in his hands. “Someone will be sober. They can drive us.”
The boy kept appearing. He seemed apologetic, holding his hands weakly by his side. He felt pity for Waylon Park, but he didn’t seem to say it outright. His sad eyes scared Waylon, but it felt as if they were only telling Waylon to hold on. To stay strong. Waylon Park no longer felt strong. He no longer felt happy. He was thankful for the shy care, but it didn’t feel any better. He wasn’t even real. His name was Billy Hope.
Waylon began to see him everywhere. His garden, his old treehouse, the park. Once, they even sat on the swings together. Though, not one word was exchanged. They didn’t need to talk to feel somewhat content. Billy never showed up around the school, though, and vanished whenever Miles was around the area. As if something about Miles repelled him. It never felt well to have Hope gone.
Blake had begun to distance himself. Rumors had it that Blake should back off before he’s targeted too. He began to shun Waylon when they were in the same room. To be quite frank, he didn’t even care anymore. He began directing all of his emotions into a journal. A journal he never expected to have ripped out page by page, each vent of his feelings plastered onto the lunchroom wall. That day, he heard Upshur’s cackle from not so far behind him.
Miles looked wrong. Perverted in a way Waylon couldn’t even begin to explain, even if all he had said were meaningless words. Miles just wanted to go home, didn’t he? But it wasn’t like Miles. Wanting to go home from a party— it seemed unheard of for Upshur. The more he stared, the more disturbing Miles looked.
His once alive eyes seemed to be bulging out, colored a shade of green that was so bright yet felt so empty, whilst underneath of his eyes seemed dark, perhaps as if he hadn’t slept in a while. True that he didn’t, but it wasn’t right. It just didn’t look okay. His tan skin almost looked dead in a way. It was pale, and it didn’t take an expert to notice that Miles was sending off way too many chills. He was cold - truly, horribly cold. His hair looked tousled with, and it didn’t seem right. They’d joke about Miles' hair, always more stylistically messy like he was in a movie, even if Waylon didn’t want to say it out loud. Not to forget the frown. The horrid, ugly frown on his face.
Miles’ insistence and radiating despair won Waylon over, however, there was still heavy feeling on Waylon. No, not heavy. A tremendous dead weight on his heart and soul. Just what had happened down there?
He was odd, that was for sure. Something Waylon didn’t really like looking at. The closer that he looked, the more he began to notice the insistence from Miles, causing a rough pounding in Waylon’s heart. His best friend began to look more stern. More hungry. His eyes were nothing but docile the more he hesitated. To the blonde, he felt as if he was being encircled with something malevolent. He came to the conclusion to act fast, find a ride.
There was a boy not too far off. Right outside the door. Frail body, stringy hair. He seemed tired, and out of it, standing by a car. Waylon could only figure he was debating on leaving, as he held out a key in his hand. In some aspect, it seemed like a pathetic trap. He narrowed his eyes, but he couldn’t seem to make out any distinct features. He had turned his whole body at that point, trying to make something out. That’s when he felt a familiar hand grip his shirt, and Miles told him to go. To ask. As if that was what was meant to happen.
It didn’t take long for Waylon to stumble out towards the figure, practically sprinting to cause the least of a delay possible. Up close, he seemed welcoming, but there was something about him. He seemed sad, despite the small smile he was showing, and the feeling was amplified as he turned his attention to Waylon. He didn’t seem to need to ask for the favor, he heard soft words, “You in need of a ride? Seem a little desperate to get out.”
The car ride didn’t take long, thank god. Waylon told the boy Miles’ address, said he’d walk home from there. He was worried for his friend, holding his sleeping body in the backseat. He looked extremely sick. The only thing he could think of was that perhaps Miles had some kind of drugs down there, yet he didn’t even seem human at this rate. The boy seemed to say something odd, though, as they had arrived. Dragging his best friend out of the car was easy to take care off, hearing a sorrowful set of sentences.
“I’m sorry. I tried to fix him. I’m sorry. I hope you can forgive me. I’m sorry.”
There wasn’t much that Waylon could think of what to say, but respectively replied, “You were in the basement?”, which was only followed up by a shake of the head. “Walrider.” It was an odd name, but he only stayed quiet. He hoped that Miles might tell him something in the morning.
Waylon didn’t expect to not see Miles in the morning, though. He never came back.
Lisa had left by then. Even Waylon’s own parents seemed to disregard him, despite how caring they had been over the past few months. If he had listened correctly, he could’ve sworn he heard them call him broken. Waylon never brought it up.
He never brought it up, he never wrote a note. As soon as all was to be lost, Waylon made his decision. There is no place for him anymore. He prayed that Miles would come back to him and be the same, but he never did. He stayed by Jeremy’s hip, alongside Trager’s side. Wernicke, the principal, even seemed to have some kind of disturbing fascination with the boy.
Miles was no longer Miles, and Waylon couldn’t take it. He had never thought that the reason he remained beside him was because they only had each other, and they never really knew it. Waylon Park never found out what happened in the basement on that night, the last time he saw his best friend.
It was on Miles’ birthday that served as the last time anyone would see Waylon Park.