Author's Note: UGH. You know, I won't even make an excuse. Life is just, ugh, right now… Thanks everyone for reading and keeping up with this, it means a lot right now to me. And I love you all. So Brianstorm is scheduled for 8 chapters, so after this there are only two left! But don't worry, the Style adventure isn't over yet, not to mention the other fics I have planned for this lovely albumfic I've written. The next fic will be Only Ones Who Know and will be the first installment of the Creek portion of the albumfic. Thanks you guys, for everything, I'll say it a billion trillion times, I just love all of my readers (but I especially love my reviewers :3)
Calm, collected and commanding
(Top marks for not tryin')
You leave the other stories standin'
~Brianstorm, Arctic Monkeys
"I said seven - fucking - twenty, Kyle!" I jolted awake when Stan yelled at me, suddenly in a room that was only occupied by me a minute earlier. Squinting my eyes I realized that the raven haired teen was actually standing in front of me, looking pissed that I was still asleep. He had one hand on his hip and his head was cocked to one side, deadpan, angry eyes stared heartlessly at my groggy form. I bolted up, eyes wide, mouth set in a horrified grimace as I slowly turned to him in shame. I'd forgotten to set my alarm. I'd forgotten to set my alarm. I never forgot to set my alarm.
"SHIT!" I shouted, flinging my covers off of me and rushing around the room looking for my clothes.
"You know, when someone tells you they're going to pick you up, you might want to be ready for them," sighed Stan, crossing his arms and tapping his foot impatiently. He narrowed his eyes in annoyance, not even offering to help me.
"I fucking forgot to set my alarm, dude. Now be my fucking friend and help me get my bag together!" I yelled, pulling on a pair of rugged jeans that I may or may not have worn the day before. Stan deadpanned me, his mouth hanging open slightly in his pissy mood.
"No freaking way, man. 7:20 is 7:20. What were you, high or something, last night?" I stopped dead at his comment, giving him a recriminating look. Stan looked like he regretted his words and he looked away and towards the ground, pouting his lips childishly. He knew what happened last night. And we were supposed to have forgotten about it. Shaking my head, I threw on a t-shirt and jacket and stumbled over to my backpack. Stan made an exasperated sound, throwing his hands up and storming out of the room. Stan may not look it, but he's one of those people that has to be on time. He hates it when he's late to anything. I threw my AP Calculus textbook into my bag and sprinted after him.
I found Stan in his car, his head resting in his arms as he leaned over on his steering wheel. He was watching me with slight animosity as I jogged up to him. I pulled the door closed and fell into the seat, utterly exhausted. And it wasn't even 7:25 yet. Stan gave me a look that was probably meant to say 'it's about fucking time' but it really came off more as 'you dumbass' and started the car.
Hectic mornings like these were a pain in the ass. But I found myself smiling. I wasn't just smiling, I was grinning like an idiot. Stan glanced at me, his eyebrows raised in confusion.
"This is nice, isn't it?" I breathed, still grinning spectacularly. Stan gave me a stony look, obviously not finding the 'niceness' of me being late. I did however, notice the tiny hint of a smirk on his face as he turned back towards the road and that only made me smile more. It was hectic mornings like these that reminded me of back when Stan and I were in middle school. Back then, he was known as the 'King of Tardies' and was late almost every day. I'd had to drag him out of bed sometimes. It was difficult and annoying and downright some of the worst years of my life but Stan and I were really best friends back then. No one would question it. If Stan's best friend was mentioned everyone knew they were talking about me. The same went for my best friend.
But, it all changed in high school. Stan got really into football and met a lot more people. There were times when I didn't even recognize him. No one really called us 'Super Best Friends' anymore, except for maybe on occasion or if they were making a joke. Stan drifted away and we were only friends when we were around each other. Our falling out hadn't started this year. It had most certainly intensified this year, but it had started back when we were freshmen. No one else really noticed because the shift was so gradual. But ever since high school started there was a gap between us. A gap I couldn't manage to cross. And it kept just getting bigger. It wasn't like what Stan and Kenny had. Stan and Kenny had a steel wall between them with an endless abyss on either side. Fuck, spikes and flames were coming out of the wall and no one, no one, was ever going to mend that. A gap can be filled, and this hectic morning seemed to be the first layer to that.
Stan and I entered the school and were immediately surprised by a girl running down the hall and falling flat on her face, scattering all of what she was carrying in all directions. Stan simply stared at her, unaffected, unpitying. I cast him an annoyed look, not sure how he could feel nothing. He didn't even crack a smile. If anything, he'd usually laugh if someone failed that hard. But then I realized why he wasn't smiling. The girl righted herself and looked around dizzyingly. Her sleek black hair was pulled back in a ponytail, which was probably why I didn't recognize her. But when she turned back to us I finally let out a little gasp of realization. Wendy Testaburger's face lit up in embarrassment.
"Well, are you two going to stand there or actually help me?" she called, a little bit of blood dripped from her nose. She was staring mostly at Stan. I don't remember the exact reasons why they broke up, but that had been months ago. I couldn't see how she could still be so obsessed with him. Stan narrowed his eyes, his nose scrunching up a bit and a grimace contorting his mouth, obviously finding the prospect extremely disgusting. She looked at him expectantly, hell, if I didn't know better I'd say they were having some sort of telepathic conversation.
"No thanks," grumbled Stan harshly, taking my wrist and dragging me away. Wendy made some exasperated noise. I gaped at Stan. Sure, maybe things didn't end well with him and Wendy, but he didn't have to be a child. Twisting my hand away I walked back to her and kneeled down, grabbing some tape and glitter glue. Wendy looked at me gratefully. "Kyle," groaned Stan, glaring at me now. I found it kind of empowering that I could control him like that. He wouldn't come within ten feet of us, choosing to stand and watch, or rather, glare. He crossed his arms over his chest and huffed angrily.
"Thanks Kyle," sighed Wendy. She looked sad, really. She obviously wasn't over Stan. That didn't make me feel good. I muttered a 'no problem' and stood up.
"What's all this crap for?" I asked conversationally. Wendy blinked in surprise, not expecting to be questioned, but then she smiled.
"I'm on the planning committee for Homecoming! I'm going to make the sign. I was going to go do it just now, when that catastrophe happened. Thanks for helping me out. I didn't really expect Stan to anyways," the sad look made its way back to her face as she looked away, her face reddening slightly. I didn't really know what to say about that. Stan was my best friend but when it came to him and Wendy I honestly didn't know all that much. And it wasn't as if I could console her or anything.
"Where do these go?"
"We'll put them in the student council room," she sighed. "I guess I can finish it after school," she pouted her lips, obviously not liking that prospect.
"Good, now get going," snapped Stan, finally breaching his ten feet radius and staring at me with annoyance. "We have to get to class, Kyle. She can take care of herself," he glanced at her for the slightest second and she flinched, glancing quickly away. I knew Wendy as being a very strong person but when it came to Stan she simply crumpled. It used to be the other way around. It was Stan that couldn't even be near her without puking his guts out from nervousness. But ever since high school, Stan had grown up considerably and the power shifted between them. They'd never had the best relationship to begin with anyways, I guess. They'd been dating off and on since we were all in fourth grade. But Stan said that their last break up would be the last. They weren't going to get back together again. It had been the one time that Stan had broken up with Wendy. Every time before it was Wendy who ended it with her wishy-washiness. But for some reason, Stan decided that enough was enough sometime last year, and by July they didn't even talk to each other. I guess it was similar to what happened with Kenny and Stan. Suddenly, a horrifying thought flashed through my mind. What if Stan and Wendy breaking up had something to do with me like it had to do with Stan and Kenny!? No, it was impossible. Stan even said something along the lines of 'she was too much of a nagging bitch'. It had just been too much of each other. Their relationship had finally run its course. There's no way that I could be the common denominator in both break ups.
The next thing I knew, Stan was taking the sign supplies out of my hands and handing them to Wendy. I gave him a confused look when I realized that I'd been spacing out. Stan had his gaze lowered towards me, as if he was trying to figure out what I was thinking. His mouth was set in a firm line; he obviously wasn't in a good mood. I turned to Wendy, as she began to walk away, buried underneath large green paper and paints and felt sudden pity. The next words out of my mouth were involuntary.
"Hey, do you want help after school? Making the sign, I mean?" Wendy turned back to me, eyebrows raised in shock. Stan was deadpanning me with a 'you idiot' look, obviously steaming on the inside. But what could I say? It slipped out, she just looked so... so depressed. Like she needed someone to talk to. Wendy bit her lip and looked at the floor, then her eyes flitted to Stan, who responded with a look meaning to say 'don't you dare, bitch'. However, Wendy still seemed to have her not to be fucked with attitude and she smiled pleasantly at me.
"I... would love that, Kyle, thank you," she said to my surprise. Stan crushed the coffee cup in his hand and stormed away, throwing the cup in some random direction and grumbling something under his breath. "I'll be in the student council room after school, if you still want to come," she smiled at me and then walked away. Jogging after Stan, I finally caught up with him.
"What is your problem?" I snapped, trying to read the frustrated expression on his face.
"You don't just go 'hang out' with my ex-girlfriend, Kyle!" growled Stan, shooting me a mean look. Offended, I forgot to walk and had to jog to catch up with him again.
"I didn't think that that would be a problem! You guys broke up months ago! Besides, I'm just going to help her with the sign!" I countered. Stan was the one to stop now. He gave me the same look he had earlier: dumbfounded, dubious disbelief. He shook his head, putting a hand on his forehead and closing his eyes in frustration.
"Wendy's a fucking bitch, Kyle. You only know the good side of her," he stressed. The bell had already rung but neither of us had really noticed. I scoffed, rolling my eyes.
"Please, I heard you rant nonstop about how horrible Wendy was. I've fucking heard every horrible thing about her. If that's her good side then she must be some fucking succubus, because I can't think of anything worse then how you describe her! I'm just going to help her out. What are you so fucking uptight about?" Stan gave me a stubborn look, biting his lip hard, his eyebrows furrowing, hands balled into fists.
"She'll just..." he looked uncomfortably away, then with a soft 'pah' he waved me away and walked swiftly in the other direction. I called after him but he didn't answer. It appears that our gap is going to take a bit more to fill... I thought, frowning after him.
"So, we need to make the sign big and legible, it's going to hang all the way across the Commons, so everyone can see it," explained Wendy, rolling out a big-ass sheet of paper. I sat across from her, crossing my legs "It should also be colorful," I nodded my head in agreement. "You can start with the big 'Homecoming' letters, just tracing them out, I'll go over them in paint and glitter glue."
It was quiet work between Wendy and me. I guessed she knew that she was the reason Stan had gotten mad at me. He didn't say anything to me for the rest of the day. I was honestly a little bit surprised. He'd usually at least apologize. Fuck, it's not like I did anything bad, anyways.
"Kyle, are you okay?" asked Wendy. I turned to her, an angry snarl still on my face. I realized I'd gotten preoccupied with my thoughts and it was showing in my expression.
"I'm... I'm fine," I assured her, working on straightening out the edge to the 'H'. "Was he a douchebag to you, Wendy? Or does he just save that especially for me?" I growled, not really sure why I thought it was a good idea to bring up Stan with his ex-girlfriend. Wendy pouted her lips.
"Well, maybe not as much as with you, but Stan was never really the nicest to me. I dunno, maybe we were just trying to get something to work that simply just wasn't meant to be. We had some good times together, but I guess Stan was just sick of me," she looked away, choosing to busy herself with deciphering the blue glitter glue from the green. I didn't really like talking to Wendy about Stan. She got really quite upset when he was brought up. But, annoyingly enough, I couldn't not bring him up. Wendy stood up, "I need some more paint, I'll be right back," she mumbled, but I could see the tears entering the corners of her eyes. She most definitely wasn't over Stan. Now the real question is if Stan is over Wendy... I thought absently, finishing the second 'O'. My phone buzzed and I flipped it open.
"Where are you right now?"
I narrowed my eyes at Stan's text.
Stan's next text was immediate, and exactly what I expected.
"Why the fuck are you helping Wendy?! I told you she doesn't need help, stop pitying her Kyle, let her drown in her own sorrows."
"Sorry but I'm not that much of an asshole."
I closed my eyes, shaking my head back and forth. This morning I thought everything was going to better between Stan and me but apparently it really wasn't. I wanted everything to be okay. To pretend that we weren't in this fucking god-awful fight. But I couldn't pretend. Stan and I were fucked up right now, and I didn't know if we could salvage what little of our friendship we had left. I realized that helping Wendy was possibly the worst thing I could do if I wanted to keep Stan as a friend. Because if I was with Wendy, then Stan wasn't going to be anywhere near us. I considered for a moment just abandoning her in order to save my friendship, but only for a moment. If Stan's going to be such a douchebag... Then why am I friends with him? I thought remorsefully.
"Kyle?" I turned to see Wendy looking at me worriedly. I gave her a pained look, I was caught a bit off guard and I couldn't compose myself in time. She kneeled down next to me, her eyebrows slanted and her expression pitying. "Do you need to talk about something?"
"No," I assured, trying desperately to not meet her gaze. "N-No, I'm okay," I gave her a weak smile and she stared right through me, thoroughly unconvinced.
"Kyle, you can always talk to me if Stan is bugging you. He's not all that easy to understand, he seems like he should be, but he isn't..."
"Why are you offering me advice?" I asked, glaring at her malevolently. There were times when Wendy took things too far. Just like right now, she should have just left me the fuck alone.
"Because..." she looked away, trying to pick her words wisely. "I don't know, I feel like we're similar, in a way," she gave me a hopeful look, wondering if I understood her words.
And no, I didn't understand fuck.
"We're not similar, Wendy," I said coldly. Her expression fell and she looked ashamedly down. "I should go. Sorry I couldn't help out more," I walked away from her and then stopped. "Wendy?"
"Yeah?" she looked sad again, but still met my eyes dead on.
"Has Stan ever said anything to you about a fight that he and Kenny had? And what it was about? Like, when they stopped being friends?" I asked. Wendy blinked, obviously she didn't know. She replied with a negative and I inwardly groaned. There went my last chance at finding out.
"Wait, Kyle," she called after I started to walk away. "U-um, about Kenny and Stan's fight," she looked away from me and then sucked in a breath, mustering up her courage. "W-when was that? Do you know when it started?"
"Near the end of the school year, last year," I mumbled, wondering what her point was.
"W-well... If it helps you at all, that was the same time he broke up with me. I don't know, what's going on?" she looked hopeful, like she thought I was going to tell her something. But I shook my head.
"I don't know what's going on, that's what I'm trying to figure out," I explained. "Apparently, according to Kenny, the reason they stopped being friends has something to do with me. And I want to know what. What could I have possibly done that split my friends apart?!" Wendy's eyes had widened, a horror-stricken look on her face. "What's with that look?" I muttered, confused at her over-reaction.
"Nothing!" she insisted, her eyes still wide. "Oh, shit, is that the time? I'll see you later, Kyle, thanks for helping me with the sign!" she ran off, leaving me confused yet again.
"Goddammit," I ran a hand through my hair. "It's like everyone gets it but me."