Chapter 7

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I HAD TO admit, even I was pretty surprised when Dakota actually kissed Tyler.

Several gasped sounded around the room, as many people believed this might have been the end of Dakota's reputation of never breaking a dare. It wasn't like he was homophobic, or many of the rest of us, for that matter; it was simply that Dakota was known for being bi, and had never forced himself on anyone, or tried anything if he believed they'd be even remotely uncomfortable.

But, Dakota is Dakota, and a dare is a dare.

My eyes widened in surprise when Tyler brought his hands up and threaded them into Dakota's blonde hair, who in turn pulled Tyler closer by the hips. Their upper bodies flushed together as they both sat on their knees.

Dakota's hands slid up the sides of Tyler's shirt, holding a tight grip on his sides. Tyler's hands were all over Dakota's hair, and my eyes widened more as I heard a soft moan.

I felt like I was intruding on something personal, but it was hard to tear my eyes away. I really needed to stop drinking alcohol—it wouldn't even let my mind block off my curiosity.

Tyler bit on Dakota's bottom lip and tugged on it just as one of the other sober kids put up a hand, eyes trained on his watch, and said, "And . . . time!"

Tyler and Dakota jumped away immediately and looked anywhere but at each other, but not before I caught a look I couldn't place flash over Tyler's expression.

Both boys were wide eyed and breathless. I heard the Physics Kid mention something about Dakota's second dare, but I wasn't paying much attention. Tyler was clearly panicking, and I was more concerned about my best friend than a party at the moment.

Tyler stumbled as he quickly stood up and darted out of the room, upstairs, and out of sight with a quiet, "Excuse me." I chased after him, sending Jay and Cyrus a warning look when they tried to follow. They nodded in acknowledgement, trusting me enough to try and help the situation.

I didn't know exactly where Tyler would be, but I had a few ideas. Tyler had three places he tended to go when he wanted to be alone: his room, the roof, or the bathroom. Whenever he deliberately wanted to make sure no one found him, he always chose the roof.

When I made it to the roof, Tyler was there, as expected. His knees were tucked up against his chest, and his face was buried under his folded arms.

I carefully made my way over and sat down beside him. I stayed silent, but took one of his hands and tugged his arm down, lacing our fingers. By now, he had to have known it was me, but we both stayed silent.

"I'm scared," he mumbled after a while. "Damn it, Skye. I'm fucking terrified. What the hell was that?" He raised his head from his right arm to look at me, his eyebrows furrowed in confusion. "I've never felt anything towards a guy before, and that was only supposed to be a dare, but it just—it got so heated and—ugh, I don't know. It keeps replaying over and over again in my mind, and I can't help but think that I've never kissed a girl like that before."

I sighed, pulling my hand away to scoot closer and wrap him into a hug. "I know this doesn't help you much, and I hate that I don't know what else to say, but this is something that I can't tell you what you should do. It's possible that you may like guys, but you also could have just gotten caught up in the moment. It's your heart that will let you decide, but until then—and even after—I'll be there with you every step of the way and support whatever decision you decide to make."

Tyler nodded, pulling out of the hug. "And if people find out I could be—could be gay?"

      I shrugged. "People are a lot more understanding now than they used to be."

      He averted his eyes, staring out into the yard where a couple was dancing to the loud music from inside. The girl fell down and giggled as the guy helped her up. After a moment, she stood on her toes and planted a quick kiss on the guy's lips. "And if I don't want to be?"

      I lifted my gaze from the couple heading inside go stare at Tyler. His eyebrows pinched together, and I noticed he didn't seem to be really looking at whatever he was staring at. His mind was elsewhere. "That's for you to decide. Only you know what you really want out of life, but try to keep an opened mind. 'You never know what you might find yourself enjoying'."

      The corner of his lips turned up in a smile as he recognized the quote. "That's what I said to you the first night we really met. You wanted to leave—"

      "But you convinced me to stay," I finished. I dropped my head gently to his shoulder and looked off in the same direction as him. "Trust yourself. Whatever's meant to happen will run its course and happen. I can promise you that."

      Tyler sucked in a deep breath before slowly exhaling. "We should probably head back inside. People are going to start wondering where the host went."

      Nodding, I stood as Tyler did and followed him back down to the party.


As it turns out, we'd been talking on the roof for close to half an hour. During that time, the majority of everyone had left, with maybe fifteen to twenty drunken teenagers passed out, half naked, somewhere throughout the house.

I couldn't help the snort that escaped at the sight of Jessica Myers passed out on the stairs in nothing but a bra and a pair of short-shorts. Her mouth was hanging slightly open, and there was a fresh stream of drool dripping down her chin. Or maybe it was alcohol, I wasn't sure.

I turned and sent a pleading look to the boys, who were following me up to Tyler's room to hang out for the rest of the night. Jay rolled his eyes and pulled out his phone, snapping a picture for me. Cyrus held two packs of beer in hand,while Tyler had his arms stacked with any type of chips and junk food you could think of.

The moment we reached Tyler's bedroom, I spread my arms out and flopped onto the luxuriously comfortable bed, face first. I let out a dramatic sigh, and Jay chuckled at my exaggerated relief.

I flipped over and propped myself up on my elbows, then smiled innocently at him. "What?"

"Getting a little too accustomed to that bed now, aren't you?" Jay accused, twitching his eyebrow suggestively.

Tyler scowled and smacked Jay's head as heat rose to my cheeks. "God, you're such a pervert."

Tyler continued to scold Jay like a mother bird, clearly making fun of Cyrus, who was now sulking as he hooked up the PS4 and pulled out a first-person shooter game. Ever since the Spin the Bottle/Truth or Dare incident, Tyler hadn't been smiling as much as usual, and seemed to get lost in thought whenever he thought nobody was looking. I was beyond grateful to see the genuine amusement in his eyes at his and Jay's current argument.

"Game's ready!" Cyrus called, interrupting their continuous bickering. They immediately rushed over, practically leaping over their game chairs and into them to snatch up their controllers.

We played different games for a few hours, eventually ending on a wrestling game. Jay made a bet that he could beat me in a real wrestling match if he refrained from tickling me—a bet he ended up losing. Tyler immediately wanted to see if he could take me, but still lost. I was in the middle of a wrestling match with Cyrus when the sound of a door opening downstairs echoed through the house.

I'd heard it, of course, but I'd been a little too preoccupied to really process it. It wasn't until Tyler's bedroom door opened in the middle of me pinning Cyrus down with Jay and Tyler cheering him on, did any of us really process that somebody was coming in.

"Hey, turns out my mom couldn't go—what the hell is she doing here?"

I stopped trying to hold Cyrus down, he stopped fighting against me, and Jay and Tyler stopped cheering him on. We all glanced up at once to see an incredibly furious Ryder Williams standing in Tyler's doorway, and suddenly my world felt like it was crashing before me.

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