“Where is everybody?” You questioned when you and Grayson had made your way onto the deserted beach.
“Eth said they’ll be here soon. Laura needed to sober up a little, I guess.” Grayson shrugged and shoved his hands in his pocket. The lake was quiet, ripples in the water reflecting the moonlight. The wind was blowing slightly but it wasn’t cold. You looked to the cove, wanting to check if D had written back, “You okay?” Grayson touched your shoulder lightly. You turned to him and nodded with a smile, “Do you want to swim?” He nodded his head to the water. You didn’t have a suit but you were wearing shorts and your bra would dry if it got wet.
“Yeah, let’s go.” You pulled your top off and walked to the water. It had cooled significantly from the day but wasn’t cold enough to stop you from swimming. As you were about to dive in Grayson ran past you and jumped up, completely submerging himself. You laughed as he resurfaced, his previously styled hair now dripping onto his face and covering his eyes. You brought your hand up to your mouth to stifle the laugh coming out of your mouth. Joining Grayson in the water you submerged yourself until you couldn’t reach the bottom and were treading water. Grayson swam closer to you until he was about an arm’s length away, “Y/N there’s something I want to show you.” He came a bit closer and you nodded, you’d follow Grayson anywhere if he asked. He started to swim towards the shore and you followed. As soon as you got out of the water, however, the rest of the party came onto the beach. Grayson stopped so suddenly that you ran into his strong back for the second time that night. You rubbed your nose again as you stepped away from him. He turned and gave you an apologetic smile, “Maybe later?” You were disappointed but nodded nonetheless. His friends came up to him and they started rough-housing and you looked for Laura or Jack. You found Jack but Laura wasn’t with him.
“Hey, where’s Laura?” You gave Jack a quick hug and he squeezed you quickly.
“She was really tired. I took her home and set her up with some Advil for tomorrow and a few bottles of water.” Jack shrugged and laughed a little, “She gets rowdy when she’s had a few.” You knew all too well what he meant. Laura was a collected person by nature but when she had a few drinks she was like a whole new person.
“Alright, that’s probably for the best that she didn’t come then.” Jack bobbed his head in agreement, “Ethan and Grayson are over there,” you gestured to where they were surrounded by a few people, “I’m gonna go for a walk.” Jack nodded and made his way to his friends and you walked the opposite way towards your cove.
When you reached the cove you opened the notebook excitedly to see that D had written back, “That sounds like a shitty situation, I’m sorry. I think you should tell Brad…” You laughed when you read the name, you had forgotten that you named Grayson “Brad” to hide his– and your– true identity, “… about your crush. I know how you feel though, I’m in the same situation. There’s this girl that I’ve had a crush on for years but she and I barely talk. I think she likes my brother which sucks. He knows that I like her and I know that he wouldn’t make a move on her because I like her but it still sucks seeing her with him you know? Anyway, I think honesty is the best policy for you right now. I guess that makes me a hypocrite, huh? I’m telling you to tell Brad about your crush but I’m not going to tell my crush. I’ve never been in love but the feeling I have when I’m with her makes me think I might be falling for her. We should get together for dinner and discuss our hardships. I’m just kidding… kinda. It’d be nice to talk to somebody who knows what I’m going through. Anyway, I’m already late for something so I’d better go. I hope she’s there. I’ll let you know if she is. -D
P.S. What should I call you? I feel weird calling you “wave”… -D”
You smiled at the note. D was right, it felt nice to have somebody that could relate to what you were going thorough. You picked up the pen and started to write back, “I completely agree. It’s nice that somebody knows sorta what I’m going through. I found out that Brad and that girl I thought he was with aren’t actually together and that she has a boyfriend. It makes me feel better but I still can’t carry a very good conversation with him. We had a nice night together and that was the most that I had talked to him since I’ve known him, I think. Maybe I’m getting better at this? Maybe there’s a chance.
P.S. you can call me Kai.”
Kai was the Hawaiian word for sea and you felt like it represented you well. It also hid your identity from D or whoever else might know about your cove. You looked down to the lake and saw a sizeable crowd on the beach and you sighed, knowing that you should probably join or else people might wonder where you were. There were few enough people to where your absence was noticeable but that you could sneak away like you had for a short amount of time. You made your way down the trail and back to where people were mingling. They had brought the alcohol from the party and people were getting a little rowdy. You giggled at some of your friends acting silly with the aid of alcohol in their systems.
“Fancy seeing you here.” You shivered when somebody’s hand snaked around your waist and started travelling to your butt. Whoever it was smelled heavily of alcohol and their breath was fanning over your neck uncomfortably. Turning, you turned saw Dean standing there with a smirk on his face and you grimaced.
“Yeah well, my brother and his best friends put this little party on so I couldn’t really say no.” You started to walk away and kept an eye out for Jack, Ethan, or Grayson. You didn’t want any conflict but being closer to one of them would make you feel much better.
“Yeah? Maybe you should text them, tell them that you’re leaving this party early.” Dean was even more drunk than when you had first come in contact with him at Meg’s sister’s house and he was stumbling after you.
“That’s fine, thanks for the offer, though. I should find my friends.” Dean reached for you and your pulled your hand away.
“Aw, sweetheart, are you saying we aren’t friends? I’m hurt.” You saw him pout out of the corner of your eye and you rolled your eyes at him. You still hadn’t spotted any of the guys and you were running out of options. You thought about going into the water to get away from him but you realized even the colder water wouldn’t dissuade him from following you. Turning to the water you finally caught Ethan’s eye. He was in the middle of the lake surrounded by a few people. When Dean caught your wrist you were forced to break eye contact with Ethan and you tried to tug your arm out of his grasp, “I’m getting you one way or another, fucking prude. You might as well make it easier for yourself.”
“And what are you gonna do? Where you gonna take me? There’s too many people here for you to do anything to me in the open, and judging by your breath there’s no way you drove here yourself. Let me go, asshole.” You tried to look over to Ethan again but Dean grabbed your chin and made you look at him. His breath washed over you and you coughed at the strong smell of tequila.
“You don’t want to test me, bitch.”
“Hey! Let her the fuck go, Dean!” You sagged in relief when you heard Ethan’s voice coming behind you. Dean squeezed your arm and chin tighter when he saw Ethan and you yelped at the pain racing through your body. You struggled with him, wanting to be near Ethan or anybody that wasn’t Dean. “I said,” your body was jostled a little as Ethan shoved Dean, “stay the fuck away from her.” Dean let you go and you stumbled. Somebody grabbed your arm gently and pulled you towards them. Looking up you saw Meg with a kind but sad smile on her face.
“Are you okay?” She touched your jaw lightly and you flinched at the sensitivity, “I’m sorry, come with me.” She guided you towards the coolers and pulled out a can of beer.
“Meg, I don’t really want a drink right now…”
She giggled, “It’s for your face. You need something cold on it.” You nodded and took the can from her.
“What’s happening? Why is Ethan furious?” Jack came up behind you and raised an eyebrow at the can of beer on your cheek.
“Dean was being an asshole. Grabbed Y/N. Ethan got him off her.” Meg explained.
Jack dropped to his knees beside you, “Are you okay? Let me see. Y/N I’m so sorry.”
You removed the can and let him see your face. He surveyed it with furrowed brows. You raised your left arm where Dean had gripped you and he gasped, water gathering in his eyes as he looked at you, “Jack it’s fine, I swear. Meg is helping me and Ethan took care of it. He was bothering me at the party and must have heard that there was a party here too, just bad luck.”
“We’re pressing charges.” Jack stated firmly, “That jackass is going to–”
“Y/N! Are you okay? Let me see. I don’t think he’ll be bothering you again.” Ethan walked over to the table you were sitting at and you noticed his knuckles were a little red. A crowd had gathered around you and Ethan pushed his way through to see you. He crowded in next to Jack, looking at your face and arm.
“I’m okay, thank you for helping me.” You smiled gingerly at him, “You got there just in time.” You picked up Ethan’s hand and frowned at how swollen the knuckles looked. Lowering the beer can from your face you tried to put it on Ethan’s hand but he shook his head and placed in back on your face gently.
“I’m sorry I wasn’t there sooner.” Ethan looked away, “He could have-” Ethan cut himself off and held your uninjured hand, squeezing it a bit when he thought of what could have happened.
“It’s not your fault, I’m just glad you were there at all.” You didn’t really want to think what could have happened if Ethan hadn’t seen you when he did.
“What the fuck is happening? Did somebody get hurt?” You heard Grayson’s voice cut through the crowd. Ethan and Jack looked at each other and then over to Grayson who was making his way through the crowd. “Y/N?” you waved weakly, the can of beer still on your face. “What-?”
“Dean.” Ethan gritted through his teeth. Grayson tensed and looked around, “He’s gone, bro. I took care of it. Grayson stop.” Ethan got up to grab Grayson’s arm.
When Grayson turned around to look at Ethan his face was hard and determined, “E…” Grayson trailed off and gestured to you, his eyes softening when he met yours.
“I know, but he’s gone and all we can do now is make sure Y/N is safe and okay.” You felt your cheeks heat up as Ethan and Grayson talked about you as if you weren’t there; in front of the crowd, nonetheless.
Jack squeezed your hand and stood up, “Why don’t we talk about this somewhere else?”
Ethan and Grayson looked at him, “Nah, we’re good. The conversation is over anyway.” Ethan said, sending Grayson a steely glare showing that there was no room for argument, “I think it’s time to go home.” The crowd started to disperse and people started packing up the drinks and pack things away in their cars.
Grayson stayed where he was, watching as you and Meg conversed about what happened. You didn’t really want to relive it but a whole slew of people had seen it and you knew that even if you didn’t talk about it, others would, “You have my number, right?” you nodded at Meg, “Great. Text me tomorrow when you wake up, we’ll go shopping and do a movie. Sound good?” You nodded at her again. The look she gave you didn’t leave much room for objection, but you were glad that she was making these plans. You needed to keep your mind busy and off of what had happened today.
When you looked over to Jack to ask him to take you home he was talking rapidly with Grayson and Ethan, all three of them were gesturing wilding and you grew frustrated. You were right there for crying out loud! “Hey assholes. I’m right here. Don’t talk about me like I’m invisible, or a child. If you have something to fucking say, say it.” You balled your fists but the look of intimidation you were trying to go for was ruined when you flinched when pain shot through your left arm from Dean’s tight grip and made you drop your glare and unclench your fists.
“Grayson is going to take you home, now. I’ll see you in a bit.” Jack said, placing a kiss on the top of your head.
You panicked, thinking that Jack and Ethan were going to go after Dean again, “Jack! Please don’t. It’s fine I’m fine.”
“Shhh, relax. We’re not going to go after Dean. Grayson—“ he cut himself off before continuing, “Gray feels bad that he wasn’t there to help. He wants to apologize.” You glanced over at Grayson who was looking at something on his phone.
“Okay. Promise you won’t do anything stupid?”
“Promise, twin.” Jack gave you a tight hug and another kiss on your head.
You walked over to Grayson and touched his arm gently, “I’m going with you.” He looked up and smiled tightly at you before putting his phone in his back pocket. He rested his hand on your lower back and guided you to the car. He opened the passenger side door and helped you in, “No drinks?” Now that you knew that Grayson and Ethan didn’t drink you tried to make a joke about it ease the tense situation. Grayson gave you a weak smile, shaking his head, “Are you okay? I can go home with Jack if you have something to do. It’d make more sense, actually.”
“No!” The volume of his voice startled you and you jumped, “No. Please let me take you home. I just— I feel so bad that I wasn’t there.” He clenched the wheel tightly. You didn’t know why he was so torn up about what happened and asked him as much. “Y/N. You didn’t deserve that.”
“Nobody does. But I’m fine. Ethan was there. Meg helped me afterwards. Jack will keep him from me if I see him again. It’ll be okay.” You tried to speak softly, reassuring him.
“That’s not it. I know we’ll keep you safe.” Your heart fluttered.
“Then what, Gray?” His eyes snapped towards yours as he rolled to a stop at a stop sign.
“You don’t know? Jack didn’t tell you?” You shook your head, having no idea what he could be talking about, “Y/N I like you. A lot. I have for years.” He broke eye contact and drove forward.
You froze, “Fuck you, Grayson. Let me out. How dare you?” You jiggled the door handle, disregarding the fact that Grayson was currently flying down the road.
“Y/N what— stop! You’re gonna hurt yourself.” Grayson pulled over and parked the car, “What just happened?”
“Who told you? How do you know?”
“Know what, Y/N? I’m lost!”
“I’ve liked you since we were in kindergarten together. And you think just because of what happened tonight you can make fun of me? I may be weak but I’m not pathetic. I know I couldn’t get Dean off of me but I’m not gonna sit around while you try to take advantage of the shitty situation.” Tears were falling on your cheeks.
“I had no idea you liked me, I swear. And I would never take advantage of you. I’m not De—“ he took a deep breath, “I’m not Dean. I would never–.” You looked at Grayson, his eyes were full of sincerity and you were taken aback.
“You didn’t just say that? You meant it?”
“That I like you? Yes. I have for as long as I can remember.”
You huffed, “I’m sorry.”
Grayson started to laugh, “You’re a spitfire, Y/N.” You shrugged, looking away from him, embarrassed. He tilted your chin up with his pointer finger. The gentle contact on your face was a stark contrast to the force that had been used on you just an hour ago. He wiped the tear off your cheek, “I’m so sorry I wasn’t there. And I don’t know if you want to take things slow, or if you even want a relationship, let alone with me, but if you’ll have me I’ll keep you safe, always.” Your breath was caught in your throat but you nodded, “Yes to what, Y/N?”
“I want this. With you. I’ve wanted it since I was 5 and you offered me the Blood Orange crayon because the Red crayon wasn’t ‘pretty enough’ for the sunset.” Grayson giggled at you. When him and Ethan had come in to class on the first day of kindergarten Grayson had immediately come over and told you that the colors you had weren’t good enough for the picture you were drawing. You were hurt initially but when he opened his small palm he had a whole array of colors and offered them to you to use. “But, Gray…” he looked at you expectantly, “can… can we take it slow? I don’t…” you didn’t know what you were trying to say but Grayson understood.
“We can take it as slow as you want.” You smiled gratefully. “Let’s get some ice for you. Wanna go back to mine?” You looked out of the windshield and smiled then nodded at him. He smiled back at you before starting the car and pulling back onto the road. “We can watch a movie if you want. I think Jack is staying over tonight too.” A few minutes passed before Grayson spoke up again, “Can I hold your hand?” The request startled you but you smiled and offered your hand to him. He gripped it tightly and laced his fingers through yours. The size difference was almost comical and you laughed, “What’s up, Giggles?” He squeezed your hand quickly.
“My hand is really little in yours.” Your heart was beating erratically at being so close to Grayson and you were working on keeping your breathing neutral. Grayson looked down and nodded in agreement, a big smile on his face. The rest of the drive was spent in comfortable silence, Grayson’s playlist filling the silence. When Grayson pulled into the driveway you saw Jack’s car on the road. Some of the tension in your body was released when you saw it. Grayson opened the door for you and started to lead you inside but he stopped when the two of you reached the porch, “And for the record, Y/N, you’re not weak. Not in the slightest.” He placed a small kiss on the top of your head and you blushed. When the two of you made your way inside you saw Lisa and Sean waiting on the couch with Ethan and Jack sitting across from them.
“Y/N! Sweetie! Are you okay? Sean can you go get some ice? Ethan and Jack told me everything. I’m so sorry honey. Oh look at you.” Lisa ran a hand down your face gently, “You poor thing. Come here.” She guided you to the couch and Sean handed you some ice in a ziplock bag and you thanked him. “Are you okay? Do you need anything?” You shook your head at Lisa. She nodded and patted your leg, “You all should get some sleep. It’s late.” You thanked her as she walked up the stairs with Sean.
“You guys wanna watch a movie?” Grayson spoke up from beside you. Ethan and Jack nodded and Ethan went into the kitchen to make some popcorn.
“Are you guys…?” Jack looked between the two of you. Grayson nodded and you smiled at your brother, “Finally! I’ve been waiting for you two to figure your shit out for ages!” He punched the air a couple times and whooped.
Ethan came running in, “What happened?”
“Y/N and your brother are together!” Jack and Ethan jumped around dramatically, waving their hands around.
“We’re taking things slow right now, asshats.” Grayson rolled his eyes.
“Still! It’s about time!” Ethan called out, walking back to the kitchen, grabbing the popcorn and putting it into some bowls. Even though you had honestly been looking forward to a movie your eyes closed of their own accord as the title sequence started. You were asleep before the first line of the movie was spoken.