The Best Nightmare

"Sometimes the best way to deal with insomnia is to pretend you're invisible."


8. The Beach

I wake up, about ten minutes later.

"What the fuck." I mumble.

"Did you really faint from running?" Ashton giggles, and Michael grins.

"You're not very active are you?"

"What gave it away?" I reply, bitterly, and roll off the bed. I check my phone to make sure it's still daytime, and rub my eyes.

"Your think it's safe to go out again?"

"I dunno. We can try." Luke shrugs, and makes sure his hair is still fluffy and defying the laws of gravity.

I look at myself in the mirror above the work desk.

I look like garbage.

"I need to get makeup." I groan, realizing that makeup is another thing I have forgotten.

"You look fine." Calum rolls his eyes, and pulls me out the door with the others.

This time, we're more careful.

I walk into a Sephora, smiling. I've never spoiled myself this much before. As in, I'm a cheap asshole and won't buy anything expensive. Today is the exception.

I buy only what I need.

Michael complains about how long I take to pick out my makeup, but hey, he's the one who wanted to come along.

This time, Luke has joined us, and Calum and Ashton part ways.

I wouldn't mind, but Luke is a little quiet.

"Talk, for gods sake!" I finally sigh, and he jumps, startled. "I don't care what you talk about, just talk!" I swat his arm, and he smiles.

"About tampons?"

"Michael! Have you been influencing this child?" I cross my arms. Slowly, but surely, I'm succeeding in bringing Luke out of his shell.


"Lucas! Clifford is a bad influence. You should stay away from him." I giggle, poking his side.

We walk past a store full of bathing suits.

"We need to go to the beach!" Michael points at it, and laughs sarcastically.

"Yay! Water!" I laugh, but then I look at Luke.

"He needs to have fun. We should actually go." I gesture towards the tall boy beside me and Michael shrugs.

"Eh, why not. I'll go outside but under shade." And with that, he texts Calum and Ashton to regroup at the beach. We don't have a vehicle, so we have to walk.

Yay. Exercise.

We probably could've taken a taxi, but whatever.

And so, we arrive at the land of sand and water. We meet up with the other two, who are already dressed for a swim. Me and Michael find a shady spot to hang out, being the two most pale out of all.

After Michael decides to get something to eat from a small group of people selling food, Luke finally comes out of the change rooms. He sits beside me, a towel around his shoulders.

"Go swim. Have fun. That's why we're here." I pat him on the shoulder, but he shakes his head.

"I'm good."

"What's wrong?"



"I.....I...I'm kind of insecure."

About what? I scoot closer to him, so that our shoulders touch. As if answering my unspoken question, he continues.

"I used to be quite chubby in school."

I look up at him. I can't tell what emotion his eyes show past his sunglasses.

"So you don't think you're fit enough. You don't want to be judged?" It slowly clicks together in my brain. I turn, and rip the towel off of him.

As far as I can tell (past him desperately trying to get it back), he looks perfectly normal. Not super skinny, not body builder strong, just normal.

I hand him back his towel, and take off his sunglasses.

"Look at me." He reluctantly makes eye contact with me. "You look perfectly normal, okay? Dare I say you even look really attractive, from a girl's perspective. Now go have some fucking fun, or I'll make you." I smile, and I can tell he is considering it.


"Luke, you're not fat. You are literally perfect. Now go, you stupid noodle." I push him, and he actually goes. He doesn't drop the towel right away, but he goes away to have fun.

Michael returns.

"You give him a good talking to about his chub chub?" He grins, and hands me a burger. I didn't ask for one, and it's kind of like..really hot, but it smells so good that I have to take it.

"Who, Luke?"

"Yes, Luke. He isn't wearing a towel, or a shirt." I take a long sniff as I open the tinfoil wrapper. I swear, my soul almost detaches from my body.

"Oh my god." I close my eyes, mouth full of goodness. Michael laughs.

"You're in a really good mood today, considering you fainted like two hours ago." I feel his eyes burning into my skin. Unless that's the sunlight. Either way, I can tell he's staring. And we're in the shade. I'm dumb.

"Quit it."

"Quit what?"

"Staring at me." I glare at him, and he smiles.

"You're beautiful. Am I not allowed to look at things I enjoy?"

"You're being creepy." I push him, and he looks down at his lap again.

"I can't tell if you're attempting to flirt or just make me feel better about the things that happened earlier today." I say after a few minutes, and he doesn't reply. I'm guessing I said the wrong thing. I hesitantly put my hand on his knee.

Michael stares at my long fingers cupped around his knee.

"Maybe it was both?" He looks up at me hopefully, and I frown in thought. I'm not sure how to feel about his answer. He looks down again and I sigh. He took my expression the wrong way.

"Look, I'm sorry, okay? I'm fucking sorry. I haven't been around people for forever, and I'm a natural sarcastic asshole. I don't know what you want from me!" I put my head in my hands, and I feel him turn away from me.

"I.....I don't know what I want." He murmurs, and before we can say anything else, the rest of the band shows up, ready to go home.

"You vampires ready?" Calum laughs, and I watch his chest move as he does so. Oh, sorry, I have an obsession with Calum's fitness. Not my problem.

"I'm never ready." I grumble, and glance in Michael's direction, but he is deliberately avoiding me. It pisses me off, but I try to stuff my negative emotions back into my black soul where they belong. It doesn't help much, but at least I'm trying.

We have to walk all of the way back to the hotel, and I'm honestly surprised I don't faint again.

I walk at the front of the group, with Calum's arm wrapped around my shoulders. Michael walks slowly behind our group, and I want to comfort him, but I know I'll make matters worse. Instead, I stay close to Calum, and look up at the side of his face, several inches above mine.

"You're staring." His voice brings me back to the reality of what's going on.

"Thinking." I say, and focus on the sidewalk beneath me. He rubs my back.

"You probably have a lot to think about. You're a complicated person."

"You're telling me." I laugh softly, and I feel Ashton poke my shoulder.

"Michael says he's hungry."

Calum moves his arm, and I walk to the back of the group with Michael.

"Can you wait until we get to the hotel?"

"Can I eat Luke on the way?"

"Michael!" I snicker.

"Fine." He rolls his eyes and sighs dramatically, and I return to my place beside Calum. I unlock my phone, access the Internet, and start typing.

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