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In the end, the Jasey Rae cover goes pretty well, all things considered. Like the fact that things are still incredibly, monumentally awkward between Michael and Luke. And the fact that this is their first cover as a band. And the fact that they’re all cranky from being cooped up inside for days.

The storms haven’t really let up, and all four boys are getting restless and irritable. They’ve watched more movies than previously thought possible and have been steadily eating through the food stock. Nobody feels like going out in the rain, really.

Things are a little better. And by a little better, Michael means that he and Luke aren’t actually fighting. Michael’s not yelling. Luke’s not hiding. But things still aren’t good. Luke still hides from Michael anyway. Michael still can’t help but feel surges of annoyance. It’s a lot of damn work, getting along with Luke. Michael’s not really sure, in complete honesty, how the other two boys manage an actual friendship with him.

Because to be friends with Luke, you have to:

1. Always initiate conversation.

2. You can tease him, but never go too far.

3. Don’t raise your voice. This is key.

4. If he gets mad at you, you either have to apologize or wait for him to come to you, which could take over a week.

5. Watch for signs of him being uncomfortable or anxious--shaking, biting his lip, tugging at the lip piercing, yanking on his hair, clenching his fists, etc.

And so on and so forth. Michael’s not really gung ho about Luke. But he supposes this is better than hating him.

Michael plans mostly to keep to himself, in any case. He’s really not sure how this band thing is going to work out. Or how this Luke thing is going to work out.

Which is why Michael’s not exactly sure how he ended up in the backseat of a taxi, squished between Luke and the window on the way to the club.

“Please none of you get wasted,” Ashton says, looking across Luke to meet Michael’s eyes. “I don’t want to have to deal with all of you puking all night, and then your hangovers in the morning.”

“Well, then, Luke as usual will not be living up to the name ‘Lukey Pukey,’” Calum says, twisting from the passenger seat. “Am I right, or...?”

Luke purses his lips, his brow furrowing in concern.

“You’re right,” Ashton says affirmatively. “Luke doesn’t drink.”

Straightedge, Michael thinks with a hint of disdain. Michael’s not heavy on alcohol, but he’s had a drink before. He’s not even supposed to, not on the meds he’s taking, since it nullifies the effects after he sobers up. Who hasn’t? Other than Luke, of course. They’re all legal, even.

“Like, ever?” Michael asks. “You’ve never been drunk?”

Luke shrugs, confirming.

“Luke’s our little sober buddy,” Calum says. “He tried a sip of beer once and spat it out. At me.”

“It was gross,” Luke mutters.

“Nah, alcohol’s not good unless it’s gross,” Michael says. “It’s not about the taste, really. Alcohol tastes like sewage water most of the time, unless it’s fancy champagne or something. It’s all about how buzzed you get off it. Like vodka, vodka’s good for getting drunk fast.”

Luke makes a face. Calum continues off of Michael’s thread. “And most bars water down beer anyway, so there’s not much point if you’re trying to get seriously drunk.”

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