Chapter 4: Forgetting It

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As the first sip ran down his throat, Benji felt a buzz of joy and excitement. This wouldn't be so bad after all. Everything started going more smoothly the more Benji settled into the circle of unexpectedly considerate, funny guys. He was pulled out of that settlement when a certain topic was brought up.
"We should play a game." Donny suggested eccentically, crushing a beer can against his forehead.
"Ooh, never have I ever!" Luca said energetically.
"That's just an excuse for you to ask if anyone has ever made out with girls you like." Justs replied, rolling his eyes.
"That's actually fun though. We haven't got any gays in the circle have we?" Ed said, cracking his knuckles in great nonchalance.
"Woah, you can't say that!" complained Måns. He began to get up from his seat.
"Calm down! Did I say it was a bad thing?"
"No. But you were implying it!"

The two squabbled for a while, some of the boys just watching in amusement while others couldn't care less. Benji sat in the middle- very uncomfortably.
"H-how about truth or dare?!" The whole group fell silent as the arguing teens sat down. "It's one of my favourites. A-and it's actually super fun." Robin looked at him from the side.
"That's not a half bad idea." Benji wanted to believe him, but he'd said it in a panic. What if the way they played truth or dare was different? What if their dares were way crazier and more explicit than anything Mikolas could come up with? There was only one way to find out.

"Alright then." Donny began, clearing his throat before hand. "Benji, since you came up with it, it's your turn first. Truth or Dare?" Benji hesitated. He thought he should probably play it safe until he knew what their dares were like.
"If you had to murder every single member of the circle, who would you kill first?" He enquired. He was taken aback- it seemed very morbid for a simple, fun game of Truth or Dare.
"Hmmm. I don't really know if I could answer that you all seem pretty-"
"FORFEIT! FORFEIT! FORFEIT!" the group chanted.
"Take off an item of clothing. Socks and shoes don't count." Justs smiled devilishly. Benji sighed, taking off his brown, leather jacket.

The game felt like it was lasting forever as Benji's turn never seemed far away enough. The dares he did were wild, the things he had to say that he'd never thought he'd ever half to in front of people like them. It was strange but he liked it. He still had forfeits however, leading him to take off his shirt several dares in. On one occasion, it was Robin's turn.
"Truth or Dare?" Ed asked once again.
"Uhhuh... I'll have a truth."
"Ask someone in the circle a huge question you've been dying to ask them. It has to be super important, or you'll have to take off your jeans by the looks of it." His eyes lit up. He looked at Benji, his lips pressed together before he took a deep breath and said.
"Benji. Would you..." He suddenly panicked, spontaneously not enjoying the presence of the group. He slumped down, beginning to primp his hair slightly. "You know what? Forget that, I've forgotten. Uhh, Måns. We're you and and Thomas- sorry CONCHITA ever a thing?"
"No! It was one kiss on the cheek at Alessandro's party okay? Didn't mean anything, they were drunk."

Not too long later, Benji glanced at his watch- 8:02 it read.
"I should get going, I have to be in by nine."
"Bless you, well it was fun having you!" Måns said.
"Bye!" The circle called in unison as Benji got up and made his way back through the twisting tree branches. He ran to catch the last bus home- luckily catching it in time- and almost fell asleep on the way home as the sun set in the sky beyond his window. Hazes of purple and orange painted the sky elegantly as the sun disappeared behind wisps of light, summer cloud. It was beautiful, the highlight of Benji's journey home.
When the journey came to an end and he came home safely, he lay on his bed; not being able to help the thoughts about that game rush through his active mind. What was Robin going to ask him?

He was almost sure he hadn't actually forgotten what to say, he could tell when he lied. It was the way his eyes changed, his pupils dedialated- and the way he played with his hair as he tried to be casual. He'd picked it up over the years and right now it seemed to keep his imagination running wild with possibilities. It made it hard to relax, to sleep but the thoughts soon calmed down, almost to a halt when Benji took a glance out of his window. He caught sight of a boy in the window of next door's property: a young guy in warm pajamas. He made eye contact with Benji as he tried not to stare but he couldn't help it. They smiled widely at eachother- Felix always had his ways of swooning Benjamin to a blushing, sickly-sweet, mushy manipulation of the guy he usually is. It made him feel so special. As they waved their final wave and closed their curtains, Benji smiled to himself; the formal with him was going to be epic.

As he walked into the men's bathroom with Ari, they passed by Duncan, facing the mirror as he styled his dark, curly hair. They exchanged friendly smiles and got on with what they were doing. Ari took out his phone, checking the time.
"We've only got five more minutes, you wanna go get a waffle or something?" He asked cheerfully.
"Yeah sure, I'm just gonna gel my hair if that's okay, you can go now and I'll just catch up with you in a second."
"Mmm, waffles sound pretty good right about now." Duncan chimed in, facing the two. "Mind if I join you?"
"Not at all!" The pair strolled out chatting as Benji walked up to the mirror and took a tin of his favourite hair product from the pocket of his black skinny jeans. That's when Robin walked in.

"Hey Benji! So uh, about last night. You know, Truth or Dare. My question..." He stared at the floor and cracked his knuckles. Then, he lifted his head, checking no one was still occupying the bathroom other than the two of them in their lonesome.
"Yeah I've actually been thinking about that. You 'forgot' it?"
"About that..." his hands wandered behind his back as he stumbled over his words. "Look, I uh... Would you please- um..." He chewed at his lip mercilessly inbetween breaths. Then he erupted into the question in a sudden rush of energy: "Would you go to the formal with me?!"

Benji froze. His blood ran ice cold as his brain ran rampant trying to comprehend what he'd just heard.
"Y'know, you could always say it's just as friends and all but I really, really do feel like we've been friends for a long time and since Mikolas helped me understand my feelings for certain genders and all then maybe there's something more and we could get closer and-"
"Robin." He stopped the constant rush of words coming from his mouth- that never seemed to form actual sentences- and stared hopefully at Benji. "You realise I... I don't see you in that way, right? You're just a friend, nothing else..." His bright eyes shifted into cold shock and regret. He seemed to shrink into a pale, quivering embodiment. Disappointed. Humiliated.

"O-oh I just thought maybe you... felt it too? Like we were meant to be something more."
"No Robin..."
"Isn't that why you've been trying to be friends again so we can be-"
"No, Robin. I',m sorry."
"Hehe, haha, HAHAHAHA. Ah forget it, I-I was just messing. Who could just want to do that to their friend, that's wrong. O-only c-c-cowards do that kinda thing. What a joke!" His voice began to crack uncontrollably as Benji saw his eyes line with thick, hauntingly real tears.

"I'm so sorry Robin, please don't cry!"
"Cry? It was a joke, what do you think I am, a coward? I'm not a coward." He saw himself in the mirror, his eyebrows arching. "I'M NOT A COWARD!" Suddenly, he heaved his arm back and lashed his fist out against the mirror to his right, shattering it into hundreds of tiny pieces; Benji screamed in terror, backing away from him. Blood ran violently down his hand like a waterfall as he picked out stray shards of glass and let them fall into the bloody sink.
"I think I gotta go see the nurse." He choked as he slammed the door behind him, leaving Benji stunned and shaking in the corner, the sound of the bell signalling 3rd period drowning out his cries.

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