"Really, I'll just book a hotel. I think staying in a hotel will give me a better feel for the city, anyway." I lie. Really, just the thought of staying alone in LA gave me anxiety. I've only just turned 19 and I'm a small boy who can't protect himself. 

But still, I'd rather venture alone than with this Paul guy. 

"If you insist." Candice says simply. 

We say our goodbyes and I realize what I've done only after it's too late. How was I going to afford a weeks stay in a hotel? And in one of the most expensive cities in the country? Maybe a year or 2 ago I would have been making enough money, but YouTube wasn't paying the bills as much these days with the whole adsense crisis. Plus, I couldn't ask my parents for money when they're already struggling enough as it is. Usually I'm the one helping them out with the money I earn. 

"Breathe, Mitchell." I say to myself. It was a technique I learned from my therapist, to remind myself to breathe when i begin to feel anxious. 

I quickly pull up a few hotel-search websites on my laptop and look for something cheap. 

Oh no, even cheap hotels would cost way more than my ticket to even get there! 

I sort of begin to regret donating most of my extra cash. It had just been my birthday a couple days ago and I started a birthday fundraiser for a local LGBTQ+ homeless shelter. I combined the donations with most of my YouTube patreon money, which would probably leave me a little broke unltil at least mid-august.

I try to stay calm, weigh my options and breathe. When I finally come to a conclusion, I feel very embarassed by the best choice. 

I knew Scott wouldn't judge me or ask me why, so that gives me enough confidence to call him at 11 o' clock at night. 

 He picks up immediately and it sounds noisey on his end of the line. 

"Shit- Sorry, Mitch. One second."

I smile a little at the thought of Scott dropping everything he was doing just to speak to me. I didn't know many people who would do that for me. 

A few moments later it gets quiter. "Sorry, had to step out. What's up?"

He was probably at a party or something. "Uh, sorry are you busy right now?" I ask, feeling stupid. I should've just texted him instead of calling at a time like this. 

"Don't be silly. I've always got time for you, you know that." He answers.

He's such a sweetheart to me. 

"So, I'm in a bit of a mess right now..." I begin with a tired sigh.

"Okay, that's okay. Anything I can do to help?" Scott asks calmly. 

I appreciate that he offers help before hearing the issue, and it calms me down a little to know that he's willing to help. 

"Candice has a, um,  last-minute thing... so, I was wonder if I could take you up on that offer you made a while back to stay at your place for the week?" 

I feel my cheeks heat up the longer he takes to respond. It felt like forever but it was probably only 10 seconds. 

"Of course!" He answers excitedly.

I grin at the tone of his voice, but I don't know what to say because It's still awkward. I mean, I'm going to be staying at my ex's house, albeit last-minute, and we've hardly spoken to each other in the last 3 years. 

Normally I would be having an anxiety attack at a situation like this, but with Scott I didn't feel as anxious. With Scott everything was easy, and that's why I would need to protect myself as much as possible on this trip from getting too close to him again. 

Not that I don't want to be close to him- I mean, close with him... 

But last time we became best friends (and boyfriends), he ended up hurting me for 3 years with no apologies. So, I think I have good reason to be cautious. 

"So I'll pick you up tomorrow from the airport, and then we'll go to my place?" Scott confirms carefully. 

"Yes, and I promise I won't ignore you this time around." I chuckle nervously, referring to my last trip to LA.

"Yeah, you just had to be petty, didn't you?" He teases.

I feel embarassed. "Uhm, well, I- I mean-"

"-I'm just kidding." Scott chuckles. "I totally deserved it, I know. I can't wait to see you tomorrow! Just text me what time you'll be landing and update me if anything changes. I promise I'll be there waiting for you when you arrive no matter what."

I can sense the genuinity in his words and can't help but feel excited.

I smile shyly. "Thank you so much, Scott. I'll text you in the morning before I board."

"Great, I'll look forward to it ba- uhm, bro." 

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