And we have a happy one! I've broken the depressing cycle, and this one is full of fluff and happiness. In this I've aged them up to 15 but that's just cause I wanted them to have been dating longer. Do be honest, I don't really like this one, I feel like my writing sucked in this, but I wanted to get a chapter out so tell me what you think!
It was common knowledge by now that whenever the party would have sleepovers El and Mike would retreat to the fort when everyone started falling asleep. They'd gotten used to the relentless teasing they received in the morning from their friends when they them cuddled together and it had become an accepted factor in the party's dynamic.
It was the usual Saturday night sleepover. Everyone was sprawled out on the furniture watching Indiana Jones, Will and Dustin on bean bags, Max and Lucas on the mattresses and Mike and El curled up together on the couch. It was unspoken communication that they always got the couch.
"I honestly don't understand why people think Harrison Ford is so attractive, like, he kinda looks like a glorified brick."
Max looked at Dustin in shock horror and started pelting him with popcorn as the rest of the party burst into laughter.
They all looked up towards the sound to see Karen standing at the top of the stairs, hands on hips.
"It's past midnight. Time for bed!"
Mike lifted his head of El's shoulder, groaning lightly.
"No buts Michael. C'mon, TV off. If you want my chocolate chip pancakes in the morning you'll do as I say!"
At the mention of Mrs Wheeler's iconic pancakes they immediately jumped into action, all of them climbing over to each other to reach their respective mattresses.
Mrs Wheeler smirked lightly as she closed the door.
As soon as she was gone, El crawled from her mattress over to the blanket fort. No matter how hard she tried, whenever she was at the Wheeler house she always looked for comfort in the blanket fort, her first home. She couldn't sleep anywhere else, sleep just evaded her mind until she was curled up safely between the blankets and Mike's arms.
She looked up from her position in the fort to see Mike padding over to her in the darkness. He was smiling softly and had a loving look in his eyes as he crawled into the fort, lying opposite her. She instinctively crawled closer, resting her head on his chest and throwing an arm over his waist as he buried his head in her shoulder and got comfortable in the blankets, intertwining his legs with hers.
They never spoke much. It was a time just to be with each other, and they treasured ever second, knowing they wouldn't be able to be alone again until the others left tomorrow afternoon.
El had a routine.
It had all started a couple months ago at one of the party's sleepovers. She had started to have a nightmare, twitching and mumbling incoherently, when Mike realised, managing to wake her up without the others noticing. She collapsed into his arms, attaching on to him like a koala and sobbing quietly into his chest. He whispered softly to her, incoherent phrases that became a comforting wall of sound, blocking out her thoughts. He rubbed her back softly, tracing random shapes and letters. When she asked him about it the next morning, he said that his mom used to do it for him when he had nightmares and he thought it might comfort her. El had beamed brightly, leaning up to give Mike a soft kiss while she revelled in how loving and amazing her boyfriend was.
El knew what love was. With the help of TV, her friends and adults in her life (and the way Hopper and Joyce looked at each other), she had managed to grasp the concept pretty well. She also knew how big of a deal it is to feel that, especially at only 15 years old.
But she wanted to tell Mike. She really really did. She loved him so much she could feel it burning in her heart every time he looked at her, held her hand, kissed her. So, every Saturday night, when she was sure Mike was asleep, she would trace 'I love you' over and over again on his back, eventually lulling herself to sleep. Sure, she hadn't told him in real life yet, but until she got the courage, this was enough.
So, as she did ever Saturday, once she thought Mike was sleeping, she started tracing 'I love you' on his back as she buried her face deeper into his chest, relishing his warmth.
She was just starting to drift off to sleep when Mike's arm around her waist tightened and he pulled her closer, hugging her to him.
"I love you too."
His voice was soft and a little sleepy. He pulled his head away from her shoulder to look at her face. She looked shocked, but also had a dopey smile on her face that made the corners of his mouth turn up.
"You- you felt that? I thought you were asleep."
"You trace it every Saturday night. I wanted to reply."
"You love me?"
"Of course I love you El. I've loved you since the day I found you in the rain."
His answer was simple and earnest and El felt herself melt a little. She looked up at him to see him slowly leaning down. She fluttered her eyes closed and met him halfway, electricity pulsing through her as their lips met again and again in a soft kiss.
Mike eventually pulled away, dropping his head back on her shoulder and pulling her close. She buried her head back in his chest.
"I love you. So much." She whispered into the darkness.
Mike was already asleep. But now, she knew he felt it, too.