[21] Sunrise

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B O Y ' S

At about five in the morning, I found myself awake, awake to not find Archer snuggled near me. Instead, the bedsheets are wrapped around me and the alarm clock is illuminated by blurry red numbers. I unwillingly prop myself up, placing my feet on the plush carpet.

"Archer?" I call out, just to receive no sort of response.

I get up completely and tiptoe out to the living room, just to see Archer sitting down out on the back patio with a mug in his hand in the darkness.

I slide open the patio door and take a step outside, the winter air hits me as soon as I'm completely out.

Archer slightly turns around and gives a faint smile.

"Rise and shine, sleeping beauty," I hear his deep voice whisper.

"Morning, West," I reply, my voice barely audible.

I take a seat next to him, but he gets up. He opens the sliding doors and goes inside just to return a minute later with a thick blanket. He places it over my shoulder and sits back down beside me, however, I place the blanket over both our shoulders.

"What are you doing up so early?" he asks me.

I raise an eyebrow and mimic the question he just asked me, "What are you doing up so early?"

"I like mornings, they give me time to think," he replies.

"Think about what?" I question, hoping he'll give me more than a short response.

"Anything. Everything."

I watch him as he grabs a glass bottle I didn't initially notice, a bottle that definitely contains alcohol. I recognize the alcohol due to its pungent smell, alcohol never having been my favorite smell.

"It's five in the morning," I murmur as he takes a swig from the bottle.

He snorts before replying, "Time has never stopped me before."

I say nothing in return and just watch him drink as the sun rises, knowing that it wasn't exactly my place to tell him to stop. After all, Archer and I were still strangers to one another to an extent.

I watch him drink in silence until he begins to hiccup and laugh at absolutely nothing.

"You're drunk aren't you?" I ask him.

"I'm alright," he responds.

I roll my eyes, knowing that Archer still loves his alcohol. He probably still likes his cigarettes too.

"Did you know that I haven't smoked in two weeks," he randomly exclaims, as if he read my mind.

I smile a bit at the statement, happy that he had at least quit one bad habit.

"Can't quite give up the alcohol yet though," he continues, his breath smelling of the alcohol he had been consuming.

I let my smile fall, knowing that Archer couldn't possibly change over such a small timespan.

"Let's play a game," he exclaims, throwing his hands in the air like a child.

Before I can say yes or no he's already speaking again.

"We ask each other questions in which the other person has to answer truthfully. Whoever refuses to answer a question first loses," he explains.

I tilt my head back a bit before sighing, "Okay, okay. You first."

There's silence for a moment, Archer evidently having to think of a question.

"How many boys have you dated?" he finally asks, the question being so simple and yet it took him so long to ask.

"Two," I reply, remembering my two previous boyfriends.

There was Ryder Cheating Nilsen and the other, my first boyfriend, was some guy I dated for three months in middle school. We were only really Facebook official, I would say that we were more like friends who held hands.

"How many girls have you dated?" I ask in return.

He thinks for a moment before answering, "None."

I look at him with slightly widened eyes.

He laughs.

"Really?" I question.

"Yes, really. I've never had a real relationship," he responds, giving me a loopy smile.

The alcohol is definitely settling in by now, Archer's behavior is even more goofy than usual. I know this because he is always more smiley when he is inebriated.

It was shocking to hear that Archer has never had a girlfriend, I mean, of course, he's had kisses and flings surely. Finding out that Archer's never been in a relationship is a little unexpected, I had always assumed that he started dating young when in reality Archer West has never been in a 'real' relationship.

Our fake relationship must be the closest thing he's had to a relationship then. The concept of a relationship is new to him and yet he's surprisingly good at being in one.

"Do you want kids in the future? You do great around your cousins and they seem to make you happy," I say, using up yet another question and shaking off my previous string of thoughts.

He doesn't hesitate to answer, "Yeah, I do. I want my own little soccer team."

"Your poor future wife... She's going to have to deal with being pregnant multiple times and giving birth to all those little Archer's," I reply jokingly.

He laughs, his cheeks a bright pink from the alcohol.

"What are your parents like?" he asks, changing the topic of discussion.

Our conversation jumps from subject to subject, but it still seems to make sense. Talking to Archer is always easy, even when he is drunk.

I hesitate for a second before softly responding, "My dad's a police officer and my mom passed away a few years ago."

He gives a nod, indicating that he heard what I said.

Minutes pass of full-fledged silence, his voice breaking the silence after a long moment of staring at the risen sun.

"Grey, since we're telling the truth why don't I tell you one more thing?"

I give a raised eyebrow and Archer sets the latest alcohol bottle down. He follows his statement with a few chuckles, unable to keep a straight face.

"I'm the reason Ryder cheated on you," he whispers, as he leans his head against me.

He isn't at all fazed by the words that just left his mouth, however, I wish I could say the same. A number of emotions begin to overwhelm me, Archer's confession a catastrophic one.

"It's my fault Nilsen cheated on you."

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