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Promises

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You were playing with your shirt nervously, trying to pay attention to the fraying ends and think about how you desperately needed a new one. It was an old muscle tee, and it hadn't even been yours to begin with, so it was already too big, and the fabric was worn and faded, the once black color now closer to a light grey, and it was stretched so that one of the short sleeves always hung off one shoulder. Thinking of this, you absentmindedly pulled the sleeve up over your shoulder the cover your bra strap… that was something else you needed, a new bra. You only had the one, and you'd had it for two years, and it was too small… you wondered if your dad would be willing to spare some money if you explained that it was for girl things .

 

It wasn't a particularly pleasant distraction, to think about your father's neglectful behavior. But it was the only thing you could think to focus on to take your attention away from the boy sitting so close next to you on your left. It had been so long since you and Victor had seen each other, that it didn't feel right to talk anymore. But you couldn't help the blush on your cheeks or the feeling of  butterflies in your stomach you got from the way his knee brushed against yours every so often when the car would go over a bump. It was especially hard to avoid touching him when you had Patrick to your right, taking any chance he could to touch up against you.

 

“Y/N, you listenin’?”

 

You looked up, making eye contact with your older brother in the front seat, through the smoke of the lit cigarette between his fingers. “Huh?” you asked.

 

“I said, we're dropping you off at home, then we're going out,” Henry told you. You blinked. Belch had been nice enough to offer you a ride home after they 'ran some errands’, since you and Henry had been talking with him about something. The five of you had gotten out of school for Summer a few hours ago, and they had agreed, a bit reluctantly, to bring you along while they drove around town, yelling out at girls as they drove by and harassing the Hanlon kid. They had stopped at a store and Patrick had somehow managed to steal two cases of beer while you and Vic distracted the cashier by asking them to look out back for something. Now, you assumed, they were driving off to drink it to celebrate the beginning of Summer Vacation, ‘89. You hadn't thought he was actually going to be dropped off at home, and you crossed your arms, shifting a bit and frowning.

 

“I don't wanna be alone at home,” you tried.

 

He sighed a bit. “So where’dya want us to drop you?” he questioned, putting his cigarette back between his lips.

 

You blinked. “Why can't I come with you?” you wondered. He glared at you.

 

“Yeah, Hen, why can't she come with us?” Patrick teased, putting his arm around your waist and pulling you closer to him. You punched him-- a little harder than you meant to --in the shoulder and he quickly let go, making you fall back against Victor. You mumbled an apology and sat back up.

 

That's why you can't come,” he scoffed through his cigarette, glancing at Patrick. “You know Dad don't want you hangin’ with my friends.”

 

“Yeah, but you do stuff Dad don't know about all the time--”

 

“And half the time I get my ass kicked for it,” he snapped. “We're dropping you at home.”

 

“I'll sneak out,” you told him, sitting up a bit more.

 

“Fuck, Y/N, why you bein’ a little brat?” he groaned.

 

“Just let me come with you!” you insisted, sitting back.

 

“You wanna get us both killed?” he growled. You shrugged. “Fine. But if we get caught, and I get my ass beat, you're gettin’ it.” You smiled triumphantly, then felt your face heat up as you felt Vic shift a little next to you. “Why’dya wanna hang with us so bad anyways? You got friends of your own.”

 

You froze up a little and glared at him, seeing him smirk cruelly at you. You licked your lips and shrugged. “I don't like any of 'em. They never do nothin’ fun, they all wanna paint nails and do makeup and talk about boys and stuff,” you said, playing with your shirt again. You were saying mostly for the other three boys, since you knew Henry knew you were lying. “Plus, you guys have beer. Greta and all them always wanna sneak drinks, and steal their Mom's vodka, then think it tastes gross and mix it with a shit ton of juice and stuff.”

 

“Yeah, 'cause they're chicks, chicks drink shitty mixed drinks,” Henry reminded you.

 

“Well I don't,” you argued, although that wasn't completely true. You didn't want to seem too girly in front of Henry and his friends, you were trying to make a point, after all. “I helped get the beer, you just don't want me comin’ 'cause you don't wanna share. Also, I try and do other stuff with my friends, and they get all annoyed or scared and tell me it's like having you there.”

 

Belch started laughing from the driver's seat. Henry scoffed. “Maybe you should try actin’ more like a girl,” he pointed out.

 

“Yeah, you don't like sleepover talk? Don't like sayin’ what guys you think are cute?” Patrick laughed. “You can talk to me about it any time.” You flipped him off and sat back again, side glancing at Vic. He seemed to quickly look away from you, and you blushed. “Why don'tcha got a boyfriend, Y/N?”

 

“She ain’t allowed to get a boyfriend,” Henry answered for you.

 

“Says who?”

 

“Says our Dad. And says me,” he told him. You huffed. “What?”

 

“I'm only a year younger than you, you can't tell me what to do all the time,” you insisted. He rolled his eyes. “I can make my own decisions, same as you. Why can you screw around with girls, but I can't get with a guy?”

 

“You got someone in mind?” Patrick asked hopefully.

 

“Don’t matter. Y/N ain't even supposed to be lookin’ at guys, 'specially not you guys,” Henry told him shortly. “Y/N, if you're gonna hang with us, keep your damn mouth shut and do what I say, got it?”

 

“Really? I do that at home anyway,” you mumbled. Henry started talking to Belch about something you didn't quite understand, something about the place they were heading, you guessed. You took your attention off your shirt and looked down at your torn, faded jeans instead, and your dirty, used-to-be-white high tops.

 

You hated how Henry had to be so controlling over you. Just because he was a year older didn't mean he was smarter. And you really didn't appreciate him getting in the way of you dating guys. You had a hard enough time already, being known as his sister, but he would get ultra mean whenever it looked like a guy had a thing for you. It sucked that he wouldn't let you date his friends either, it wasn't like you hadn't known them almost your whole life. Especially Vic, you'd known Vic as long as you could remember… and you thought the way he had been bleaching his hair blond lately made him look so cute…

 

Vic was watching you through the reflection of the window. He also wasn't a fan of Henry making him off limits to you… the two of you had been really close up until about the time you turned twelve, then Henry had made it increasingly hard to see you… something about you becoming a woman or something, he had been too annoyed to listen to his whole excuse.

 

He could definitely see you becoming a woman. When you were twelve, you had just started budding breasts, but other than that, you had still had a rather boyish body that went along with childhood. The last time you had hung out had been at the beginning of that summer. When school came around that fall, you had looked a lot different. You were starting to get hips, and your chest was a lot more noticeable. He had just been kind of surprised at that point, but hadn't seen much of you for the rest of the year. By the end of the school year, as the next summer rolled around, he and Belch had come to pick Henry up from his house, and you had come out in a pair of shorts, and another muscle tee that you probably shared with Henry, and Vic had been in a stunned silence the whole time you talked to Henry. Whatever Henry had said about you becoming a woman was true. He could see a bra strap peeking out from under the muscle tee, and your rounded chest and hips were all woman to him (even though you were both fourteen at the time).

 

Looking at you now, it was different. It wasn't like you were an old friend he hadn't talked to in a while… it was like you were someone he used to know. Some developing girl that sent his teenage hormones crazy, and made his face flush and his thoughts run wild… and he wasn’t even allowed to look at you.

 

Belch stopped the car on the edge of a forested area, and took the keys out, getting out of the car. The other three boys followed, and you got out as well, on Vic's side. Patrick pulled out the two cases of beer from his side of the car, and pushed one at you.

 

“You want beer, little girl, you can help carry,” he told you, starting to walk into the woods.

 

You rolled your eyes and started following him and Belch. “I'm the same age as you, dumbass. I ain't no little girl,” you said shortly. You felt someone next to you as you walked, and looked up to see Vic.

 

“Here, I got it,” he offered, trying to take the beer from you.

 

“That's alright, I can carry it, it's not too heavy,” you tried. He took it right out of your arms and you sighed. “Thanks…”

 

He walked alongside you the rest of the way in silence, and you felt strange. You wanted to say something to him, but you didn't want to say anything in front of Henry…

 

Henry had his eyes on you, you could tell. You could always feel when he was watching you. You tried to think of what you could say to Vic that wouldn't sound too bad.

 

“I like what you've been doing with your hair,” you told him with a smile. He looked over at you quickly, then smiled a bit and flipped his hair out of his eyes a bit.

 

“Oh… th-thanks,” he said. He put the beer under his arm and ran a hand through his hair. “It turned a little yellow, just right here.” He held up a strip of hair that was more yellow than ashy platinum blond.

 

“That's alright. I could fix it for you if you want,” you offered. He looked surprised. “Yeah, I can just… borrow some toner from the drugstore, it's easy.”

 

“Yeah?”

 

“Uh-huh,” you agreed. “What's your Dad think about you dying your hair?”

 

He gulped. “Thinks it's not something guys should do…” he mumbled, looking down.

 

“He's old, he doesn't know,” you told him. He glanced up at you. “He's just jealous, 'cause he's a pussy, and you're not. You're brave enough to bleach your hair, that takes guts.”

 

“Yeah… yeah, I guess,” he chuckled.

 

“And he's probably jealous 'cause now you're gorgeous and he's not,” you grinned. Vic laughed a little and you joined him, bumping your shoulders together gently. This was the way you remembered Vic. It wasn't awkward, or uncomfortable, he wasn't a stranger. The two of you laughed together, and talked as friends. You couldn't believe how easy it was to fall back into that place with him.

 

“Alright you two, enough flirting, hand over the goods,” Patrick said, grabbing the beer from Vic and you looked around as the group stopped, sitting around logs surrounding a little unlit fire pit.

 

“Not every conversation is flirting, Patrick,” she sighed. He just chuckled. “When did you guys find this place? Isn't that the Quarry right over there?” You looked over towards the cliff that dropped down to what you assumed was the water of the Quarry.

 

“Long time ago. Don't tell nobody about this, it's ours,” Henry told you. You rolled your eyes and sat down on a log next to Vic, smiling at him as he handed you a beer.

 

“Thanks,” you said, watching him a bit. The sun had started setting a little while ago, and Patrick got some kindling together and started a fire in the pit just as it started getting dark. Then he sat down on the other side of you.

 

“We're gonna talk just the same as we do when you ain't here. So don't get all pissy or offended or nothin’,” Henry told you, cracking open his can and taking a sip.

 

“I won't, you know I don't care,” you chuckled.

 

Belch nudged Henry. “I was gonna ask you, how'd things go with that chick? The brown haired one with the tits?” he asked. You rolled your eyes but smiled a bit.

 

“Eh, she was playin’ hard to get too much. Not worth my time anyways,” he explained.

 

“She's really not that hot, dude. I mean, other than the rack,” Patrick added. “Just hit up one of the Mussey twins if you wanna fuck.”

 

“Yeah, that's true, their older sister, too,” Belch agreed. “They're all cute, and they're down for anything, any time.”

 

“I a’ready got with all’a them, twice each,” he mumbled. “What about you guys, you gettin’ any?”

 

Belch shrugged, sucking down his drink. “I convinced Margie Sholes to give me head the other day during lunch,” he told him.

 

“I'm working on a few,” Patrick added. “I fingered the Marks girl during Math this morning. And I hit up Harriet Mussey for a quick fuck this last weekend.”

 

“Really?” you spoke up, leaning on your hand. They all looked at you. “This is what you guys do all the time? Try to sleep with girls?”

 

“Yeah,” Patrick grinned. “Nothin’ better than gettin’ laid.”

 

“Sure,” you chuckled, taking a sip of your beer.

 

“You ever slept with anyone, Y/N?” he teased, touching your knee.

 

“No one you need to know about,” you scoffed, shoving him off.

 

“Wait what?” Henry snapped, sitting up. You rolled your eyes. “You've fucked somebody?”

 

“Yeah, dipshit, somehow, with you looking over my shoulder 24/7, I managed to get myself a sex life,” you scoffed.

 

Henry relaxed a bit. “Scared me… Dad would’a killed the both of us if you screwed around with somebody,” he mumbled.

 

“Sorry, take a joke, kid. What about you, Vic?” you questioned, looking at him. He looked over at you confused. “You gotten with anybody?”

 

The only reason you asked was because you hoped the answer would be no, you hoped he remembered some of the sweet things he had said when the two of you were younger, and had kept them at heart.

 

Patrick ruined those hopes quickly.

 

“Oh boy has he!” he laughed. Vic mumbled at him to be quiet. “Go on, Vicky boy! Tell her about your home run with that senior chick!”

 

You felt yourself blush, grateful that it was hidden by the fire. “A senior? How'd you manage that?” you wondered, feeling your heart clenching with jealousy.

 

He shifted uncomfortably. “Wasn't hard… just sweet talked her and stuff…” he shrugged.

 

Patrick scoffed. “ Come on , dude,” he groaned, leaning over you and hitting him. He looked at you. “He'd meet her every day outside the locker rooms, and he'd walk her to class. But like, last month they'd skip class together and make out and stuff. And last week, he took her out, and she took him back to her place, and he got laid , no condom or nothin’!”

 

“Seriously, Patrick,” Vic hissed. You looked over at him, and it was obvious that his face was bright red, even in the fire light.

 

You took a sip of your beer and looked at the flames. “You were workin’ on her for a while then,” you said shortly.

 

“Y-Yeah, I guess,” he agreed, turning his can in his hand nervously. “It's whatever, though, I don't even like her…”

 

“So you all just screw around with girls you don't even like?” you asked them. They shrugged, and nodded, except for Vic, who just looked down awkwardly. “That's fucked up.”

 

“Whatever, we're guys, we can do what we want,” Patrick grinned. You rolled your eyes and drained the rest of your can.

 

“Just because you're guys doesn't mean you can do anything you want,” you argued, standing up. You tossed your empty can on the ground in front of Vic and stepped over the log you had been sitting on.

 

“Where're you goin’?” Henry asked.

 

“I'm gonna walk around,” you told them, walking out into the woods, towards the Quarry.

 

Vic watched you worriedly. He really hated Patrick for bringing up his 'win’ with that girl. He hadn't wanted you to know about that. He felt bad about doing it but… the guys had been teasing him about not getting any. And they had started asking why he wouldn't try and get girls. And he couldn't let them know that you were the reason why he stayed out of everything like that.

 

Oooh , Vicky, I think she's jealous,” Patrick laughed. He shot him a glare, then looked down at the fire.

 

“She's not jealous, she's just…” he started. But he didn't know how to finish it. “She's not jealous.”

 

“Little Miss Bowers loooves you,” Patrick continued, moving closer to him. “Little girl wants Vicky to kiss her broken heart all better.” He made fake crying noises, and Vic shoved him away. Patrick laughed, and Vic stood up, annoyed. “Are you gonna go sweep her off her feet, Prince Charming?”

 

“Can you fuck off, I'm going in the opposite direction,” Vic scoffed. “I don't wanna be around you right now, you're bein’ a dick.”

 

“Don’t take too long, Crissy,” Henry said, tossing his empty can into the small pile forming around the can his sister had left behind. “And stay away from Y/N. She’s really head over heels for you, and I’m supposed to keep her away from boys, don’t make it more difficult than it has to be.”

 

Vic felt his face heat up, then he started walking away briskly, pulling his jacket tighter around him. Without the fire, the Summer night air, was actually pretty cold. You must be freezing, in nothing but your thin old muscle tee… he wished he had thought to offer you his jacket before you got up and left.

 

He went down towards the water, pausing when he saw that you had found your way down there as well. You were sitting on a rock, your knees to your chest and Vic swore he could see you shivering from where he stood. He made his way down towards you, slipping a bit on his way down the hill but catching himself with his hand. You glanced up at him, and he saw you wipe you eyes quickly and uncurl your legs, looking away from him and grabbing a small rock from near the spot you were sitting. He made it down to where you were and stopped, looking down at you.

 

“Hey…” he tried.

 

“Hey.”

 

He hesitated, then took off his coat, a chill immediately running through his body as the cold air hit his bare arms. He cleared his throat a bit, sitting down next to you. He tried to put his jacket over your shoulders, but you jumped back and looked at him in confusion. He blushed.

 

“I uh… I thought you might be cold,” he explained. You felt yourself blush, and you looked down quickly.

 

“I'm fine,” you lied. “I'm used to the cold, my room doesn't have heat.” He gulped.

 

“Doesn't… mean you aren't cold,” he pointed out. You just shrugged, not looking at him. He took his jacket back quickly, holding it over his arm and bringing one knee up to his chest. “You okay?”

 

“Fine…”

 

Vic hesitated. “Really?” he pressed.

 

“Yeah. Totally,” you told him shortly, throwing the rock in your hand into the water with all your might. You looked a lot like Henry when you did that, he thought. The way your face twisted, your brow furrowed and your teeth bared with the force and rage you put into it. Then your face settled back to almost normal, your jaw tensed and your eyes downcast.

 

Vic felt his heart ache. He hadn't meant to upset you so badly… he wished desperately to make it up to you, but he had a feeling that that was easier said than done. “I'm sorry,” he started. You looked over at him. “I-If I upset you…”

 

“Why would you've upset me?” you scoffed.

 

“W-Well, you seemed to get mad when Patrick was talking about that girl I got with, and I felt really bad, I didn't want him to tell you about that,” he explained.

 

“You didn't upset me, kid. I'm just…” You tried to think of a good excuse. “To tell you the truth, none of my friends want me around anymore. Actually, Greta told me that we aren't friends anymore, so… the reason I wanted to hang out with you guys instead’a with my friends is 'cause I ain't got friends to hang out with , so…”

 

“Oh…” he said, unsure of what else to say.

 

“But you guys got your own thing goin’, I shouldn't get it the way of it, and I was a little jealous for a second, and that's why I got mad. But it's whatever,” you told him.

 

“I uh… sorry,” he told you.

 

“It's whatever,” you repeated, lying back on the rock underneath you. Neither of you said anything for a moment then you sighed. “Remember when we were younger… like, ten or eleven? And you said you loved me?”

 

Vic felt his face go red. “Y-Yeah, of course I do,” he agreed softly.

 

“And you told me you were gonna marry me someday and you would never love anybody else?” you continued. He felt his body tense up as he recalled those words, remembered every promise he had made. “Said you'd wait for me too, said we'd be each other's first.”

 

“Oh, Y/N,” he said softly, realizing the full extent of what he had done.

 

“It's fine, Vic, I didn't expect you to remember. We were just kids, we were stupid then. We didn't know we weren't going to love each other forever…” you brushed him off, although the way your eyes glossed over and your jaw tensed again told him you weren't being honestly. He tried to touch your hand, and you quickly yanked it away. “Dude, I'm not even upset, I just… I thought you'd think it was funny.” You stood up quickly, and he frowned. He could see right through you and you knew it, but you smiled tightly down at him. “Let Henry knew I walked home, kay?”

 

“You're walking home? B-But it's cold…” he said, standing up. “I'll go, you should go back up to the fire, where it's warm.”

 

You rolled your eyes. “I'll be fine, tough guy. I don't need special treatment or nothin’,” you tsked, brushing dirt off your jeans and starting to walk away.

 

He felt his heart jump, and he hurried after you, walking next to you. “A-At least take my jacket--”

 

“Dude, can you just leave me alone?!” you snapped, the words coming out harsher than you meant them to. He looked taken aback, hurt even, but then he licked his lips and straightened up.

 

“Yeah, sure. Sorry. Just didn't want you gettin’ cold,” he said, trying to act like he wasn't upset. “I'll let Henry know you left.”

 

“Thanks,” you smiled tightly. He just nodded a little, and you nodded, starting to walk again. “Good to see you again, Criss, hope you have fun with your new girlfriend. Have a great summer.”

 

“U-Uh yeah, thanks,” he said back, watching you watch away, towards a pathway. Once you had gotten out of sight, you groaned and covered his face with the jacket in his hand. He sat down on the rocks again for the next half hour, feeling like the biggest idiot in the world. You hated him. There was no denying it, he'd screwed up to the point of no return, and now he would never have a chance with you. Hell, Patrick had a better chance with you than he did now. He had almost gotten you back as a friend, too. He would give anything to go back to just a few hours ago, when you were laughing and smiling, and your shoulders had bumped together and he had felt like things could only get better and he might be able to win your love again. And now that was ruined…. Now you wanted nothing to do with him. He had never seen you get like that, you were usually fairly composed. At least… that's what he remembered…

 

He supposed it had been such a long time since he'd seen you, that you were really a completely different person now, you were almost a woman now. But you had waited for him… you had expected him to do the same and he had blown it, getting too caught up in his ego, and his need to impress his friends…

 

“Hey, Vic!” Belch called down to him. He looked up the cliff and stood up, wincing at the pain in his frozen joints, and he started climbing back up the hill. Belch grabbed his arm to help him up to the top, then rubbed at his arm. “You look frozen, man, you're almost turning blue…”

 

“What? Oh,” he gasped, quickly pulling his jacket on.

 

“Any clue where Y/N went, we're about to head out?” he asked.

 

Vic gulped. “She said she was walkin’ home,” he explained. Belch nodded and they walked back over to the fire, where Vic explained the same thing.

 

Henry tsked. “Brat can't even handle hangin’ with us. No wonder her friends dropped her,” he grinned. Vic felt some kind of crazy anger towards Henry that he'd never felt before. “You know she only wanted to hang out with us 'cause she ain't got no friends no more?”

 

“No kiddin’,” Patrick laughed. “They can’t handle her in her full bitchy form, I can’t blame ‘em.”

 

Henry laughed at this, and they started walking back to Belch’s car. Vic watched his friends make fun of you, and call you names, and it made his heart hurt. Henry would kill him if he stuck up for you, but…

 

It was killing him that the only person that seemed to care about you was him.