The player. The bad girl. The dork. The diva, and the counsellor. Sounds like the start of a bad joke, right? Well, let me put it into more of a better perspective.
The popular playboy who's set as an outcast in his own family and tries to make a name for himself in the outside world; the foreign rebel who tries to forget the painful memories of her past and puts on a fake smile just to get through the day; the quiet one with his nose in a book who tries to focus on the good while living in a world of bad. The openly gay who is still afraid of judgment and being cast out as a 'freak' or 'mistake' and not being accepted by society, and the girl who tries to fix everyone else's problems but can't fix her own, stuck in a world where everyone expects her to have the answer.
Five completely different teens, each living and leading their own lives. But what happens when one night turns into something that none of them will ever forget. *COVER BY Cheba


1. [1] Swim Meet

Mikayla was burning up.

Not literally, but the summer sun was bothering her and heating up her skin so it itched. She hated that feeling, it annoyed her incredibly. But that wasn't the only thing annoying her. The flies were everywhere, someone had broken her favourite sunglasses, a bird had pooped on her towel and Xavier was being no help at all.


"Seriously, did they have to have the swim meet today of all days?" Xavier, her older brother, complained as he fanned his face with his hand. "I mean, really, the hottest day of the year and they pick today."


Mikayla rolled her eyes and applied sunscreen to her legs. "Oh do shut up, Xav. You never stop complaining. And it's not the hottest day of the year, you're just whining."


He turned to face her and put his sunglasses on the edge of his nose. "Oh please, Kayla, just because you get the luxury of diving into the cold, crystla blue water and escape from this terrible heat, does not give you permission to boss me around about me complaining about the weather. So keep your trap shut and let me be," he retorted and lay back down on the towel.


Mikayla wondered if people could die from too much sass. Didn't seem like it if Xavier was overflowing with it.


Mikayla just huffed and wiped her hands on her bird-poop towel (avoiding the poop) and grabbed her swimmer goggles and swim cap as she stood up. "Fine then, be an ass."


"Sweetheart, I have a fabulous ass, don't you worry," Xavier said with a smug grin.


Mikayla internally groaned and walked away. Her brother was annoying sometimes, as siblings normally are, but she still loved him though. He was family, as much to Mikayla's disgust. Although he still played his part as her big brother; terrorising her and bantering with her on most days, but there were times where they did get along and it was peaceful.

Mikayla wandered over to the tent where the sign-ups were for the events were for the day. She signed up for her regular events as people wandered about around her. Mikayla usually isgned up for five different events for the day, each of them ranging in their own difficulty. It was a lot of work in a 50m pool and Mikayla was usually exhausted and her limbs ached by the end of it, but she was a trained swimmer and she'd done this plenty of times. She loved it, and being in the water made her feel content and full of energy, so she would always persevere and swim until her legs and arms fell off (not literally of course).


"Hey, Kayla!"


Mikayla put the pen down and looked over her shoulder to see her parents, dressed in her school's swim team colours with face paint on. They were carrying an A1 black piece of poster paper, decorated with glitter and sparkles saying 'Go Martin Warriors' with red and silver fireworks around the writing to make it stand out. Mikayla felt her stomach twist with embarassment.


"Hey mom, hi dad," Mikayla forced a smile and spoke through gritted teeth. Her parents just loved humiliating her.


"Hello, sweet cheeks," her mom came up to her and pinched her cheeks, which hurt. "How's my baby girl?"


"Fine, thanks, mom" Mikayla swatted her hands away and stared at them both in their ridiculous outfits and noticed a few people staring. "What are you guys doing here? Shouldn't you be at work or something?"


"Oh we couldn't miss our little girl's swim meet," her dad said and came and gave her a tight hug.


"Dad, I don't mind if you miss it, really," that was the truth and Mikayla meant it. "Seriously, go back to work, you don't have to be here."


"But you're our daughter and we just have to support our little cherry pie," he pouted.


Mikayla internally groaned and rolled her eyes. She absolutely hated - no, loathed - the stupid and babyish nicknames her parents gave her. They were ridiculous and absurd, and yet Mikayla could never bring herself to tell them to quit it entierly and call her by her real name, the one they gave to her when she was born.


A few more people were looking their way and Mikayla thought this hug had gone on long enough. "Dad, you can let me go now." He didn't budge. "Dad!"


"Joseph, let the poor girl go," her mom said. "She's needs to be capable of swimming today."


Joseph Evans chuckled and grabbed hold of her shoulders. "Right, sorry, MK."


"Please, don't call me that, dad," Mikayla sighed and shrugged her of dad's large hands off her small shoulders. More people were starting to stare now. "I have to go now, okay? I'll see you guys later."


"But, sweetheart-" her mom began to say, but Mikayla was already gone and walking as fast as she could towards her swim team's tent.


The events hadn't even started yet and Mikayla was already sick and tired of their obnoxious encouragement and annoying baby names. Sometimes Mikayla wished she could just live underwater forever and get away from all of this; her annoying brother, her semi-senile parents and all her other problems she had. Water was her escape and she wanted to live and breathe it. Although she wasn't a mermaid and that wasn't really possible, so she was stuck in reality with all her conundrums.

As she reached her team's tent, she wormed her way through the bustling crowd of sweaty swimmers in their swim gear, getting ready for their events for the day.


"Does anyone have any extra sunscreen? I just ran out!"


"Has anyone seen my swim cap?!"


"Where are my goggles?"


"Dude, you just had them!"


It was crazy here.


"Alright, Warriors! Attention please!"


Coach McKnightly's loud voice boomed over the commotion of the swimmers and every stopped what they were doing and turned their attention towards him and his wife (their trainer) as he prepared to give them a pep talk to raise their spirits and get their heads out of the gutter and into the pool.


"Right! I expect each and every one of you to do your best today. Even further if you have to!" Coach shouted. Mikayla felt sorry for the people in the front. "There will be no whining, complaining, moaning, groaning and all that jazz. You are here to swim until your limbs fall off, you are here to leave the other opponents in the dust and you are here to win!" Coach fell silent for a moment to give effect then resumed his abnormally loud vocals. "What are you here to do?!"


"Win!" the swimmers all shouted back in unison.






"I can't hear you!"


"WIN!" everyone screamed and Mikayla thought her eardrums would burst.


"Exactly!" Coach McKnightly yelled. "Now get out there and kick butt!"



Mikayla's event wasn't up first, it was actually fifth, so she had to wait in the blistering heat with her embarrassing excuse for her parents and her irritating brother who wouldn't shut up about the heat. Mikayla thought she was about to finally lose her sanity until her event was finally called.


"Can the racers for the open girls 200m freestyle please escort their selves to the starting podiums for your event is about to begin," the intercom voice announced and Mikayla couldn't have been happier.


Mikayla sighed in relief and stood up as she brushed the grass off from her bum. "That's my cue," Mikayla said and put on her swim cap as she tucked her bleached blonde braid up into it and put her goggles on her forehead.


"Good luck, baby girl," her mom encouraged.


"We'll be rooting for you!" her dad added with a grin.


"Yeah, go, Mikayla," Xavier didn't sound as enthusiastic as their parents as he was on his phone (like always). He didn't even look up from it.


Mikayla's shoulders sagged a bit put she quickly regained her posture and flashed them all a small smile before hurrying off to the starting podium. The quicker she was in the water, the better. Her feet singed slightly against the hot concrete as she sped walked towards the end of the pool where the starting podiums were and where five other racers waited in the heat for their race to begin. Mikayla wandered over to the fourth lane and stood tall and strong as she glanced at her competition. Most of them she recognized from previous swim meets and others she'd never seen before. There was a girl two lanes down from her to her left with blue and grey swimwear and a girl on her right with a black and yellow one piece. They both looked incredibly nervous and Mikayla felt sympathy for them.


"Focus on the end of the pool," Mikayla said to the girl on her right in the corner of her mouth, since she was the only one in vocal range without having to shout. "It also helps to go over your swimming technique in your head and keep your breath steady. Don't want to run out of air in the water now, do you?"


The girl looked at Mikayla and Mikayla turned her head to face her. She had freckles dotted all over her face with piercing emerald green eyes and a button nose with small pale pink lips.


"Umm... okay?" the girl sounded skeptical and quizzical but she faced the pool again and seemed to relax a little. Mikayla noticed her lips moving slightly but no words came out. It seemed to be working.


"You'll do fine," Mikayla said and pulled her goggles over her eyes as she and all the other five girls stepped up onto their podiums and got into position.


"Thanks, good luck," the girl responded and bent down into a diving position.


Mikayla copied her and arched her back. "You too. Kick ass out there."


Mikayla noticed the girl smirking in the corner of her eye and then they both paid attention to the starter who was yet to shoot a blank from their starting gun. Mikayla's heart hammered in her chest but she breathed slowly. In and out.


"On your marks!" the starter called and raised her gun as some girls got into a better position. "Get set-"



Mikayla was off. Her legs had sprung from the podium and she was already in the water before she even realized it. It was nice and cool (like Xavier had said) and Mikayla could've stayed there forever if she wasn't in a race. Her limbs began moving accordingly and she swam through the water like it was as easy as walking. Her legs kicked liked they were run on an engine and her arms guided her through the water as she made fast progress, making sure to take a breath every three to four strokes. Soon enough she had reached the end of the pool and prepared herself for the turnover. She flipped her body forward and felt her feet connect with the wall and she pushed with all her might and resumed kicking her legs and paddling her arms. Only three more laps to go.

By the start of the third lap, Mikayla lungs were lacking oxygen and her muscles we aching like hell. Her goggles had begun to fog up and she could just make out where she was going. From what she could make out, she was about half a body's length in front of everyone else and was just holding that position since she was starting to lose stamina. About a third of a quarter of the way through the third lap, Mikayla heard vigorous splashing next to her and looked in the corner of her eye to see a black and yellow swimsuit catching up to her and pulling ahead. Mikayla did an underwater turnover just after the girl and now they were both racing for the finish. The girl had a small lead on her but Mikayla wasn't going to give up that easily, that's just not how she worked. With a final burst of energy, Mikayla caught up to the girl.

And they both finished at the same time.

The crowd roared ecstatically as the racers all finished swimming and held onto the wall to catch their breaths. Mikayla took off her goggles and could see much better than she did before and looked around to see the girl in the blue and grey swimsuit be congratulated for first.


"Well, at least, we got tied for second," the girl next to her stated as she breathed heavily. "You're quite the competition."


Mikayla grinned and looked at her. "Well, I've been doing this whole thing since I could basically walk. My gramps calls me his sirenetta."


The girl looked at her confused. "What does that mean?"


"It means 'little mermaid' in Italian," Mikayla explained. "I practically lived in the ocean by our beach shack as a kid and my favourite movie was 'The Little Mermaid'. So my gramps gave me the name."


The girl nodded, seeming pleased with the answer and hauled herself out of the pool. Mikayla did the same and stretched her arms above her head before slowly walked over to her things where she needed her towel.


"Hey, baby girl!" her mom said with a touch of sympathy in her tone. "You okay?"


Mikayla cocked her head to the side and raised an eyebrow. "Yeah...? Why wouldn't I be?" she replied, confused. What were they on about?


Her dad shrugged. "Well it's just that you didn't win and you swam so hard-" he began.


Oh, you've got to be kidding. "Wait a minute," Mikayla stopped and stared at her parents in shock. "You think all I care about is winning? Are you serious?!"


"Well..." her parents exchanged glances and gave her small smiles. "I mean, you're always letting the competition get ahead of you when it's their first race and we think that you just need to be a little selfish sometimes and take what you want," her dad explained.


Mikayla was horrified. She had never heard her parents say something like this before and she was mortified. How could they think that? It was ridiculous.


"But what if the other racers are just better than me? I can't help that!" Mikayla cried and gestured with her hands.


"Well... then I guess you'll just have to train better," her mom smiled sweetly, as did her dad.


Mikayla glanced over at Xavier for support but saw that he was nowhere to be seen. She looked around to notice that he was actually flirting with the cute guy behind the canteen. Mikayla groaned internally. Her brother was never around for the family drama; always talking on his phone, scrolling through his laptop, out of the house with friends or just doing whatever he could to not get involved. The only person who ever was around to aid Mikayla wasn't there and she could really use some backup right about now.


"Well, I think she did prodigiously."


She spoke too soon.

Mikayla spun around to see her life long friend since first grade standing behind her with a clean white towel in his hands.


She could've never been happier to see such a familiar face. "Elliot, hey!" she sighed. "What are you doing here?"


"Well your other towel did have bird poop on it so I got you another one from your house," he explained and walked closer to her.


Mikayla smiled and took the towel from his hands and hung it over her shoulders, taking off her swimming cap and allowing her blonde braid hair fall onto her left shoulder as she put it down along with her goggles on her swim bag. She let out a breath of air and grinned as she hugged him.


"Eww, you're all wet!" Elliot made his tone high pitched and girly which made Mikayla laugh.


"You're just as bad as Xavier," she said. "Complaining about every little thing."


He chuckled. "It's what I do best," he replied. "Now play along."


Mikayla didn't have to be told twice. She knew what Elliot was up too so when they both pulled away, she would be ready for whatever lie Elliot told her parents so she could get away from them.


"Salutations, Mr and Mrs Evans," Elliot began in a posh voice. For some reason, that's how he always greeted her parents. "I may just have to steal Mikayla for a few moments as we need to discuss a Biology project we have due this week. It's very important that we get it completed."


"But, we were just uh-" Mikayla's mom began but her dad cut in.


"It's fine," he said with a smile. "Our little fairy princess needs to pass with flying colours. Right, Elaine?"


Mikayla tensed as she gritted her teeth and put on her most believable fake smile. She knew Elliot was going to tease her about the nickname later, it was something predictable he would do.


Her mom let out a sigh but still gave a small grin. "Right. Off you go then."


A little too eagerly, Mikayla dragged Elliot away from them and over to the far opposite side of the pool and sat underneath a large oak tree that grew inside of the pool area but its leaves draped over the fence. No one really sat there because they were too afraid of birds pooping on their belongings, but Mikayla had had that already happen to her so she didn't really care. All she cared about was getting away from her family as far as possible yet still being able to hear the announcements for her races. She and Elliot sat down on the plush, green grass as Elliot leaned against the tree trunk and Mikayla just lay on the ground.


"Ugh!" Mikayla groaned. "I seriously cannot stand my parents!" she exclaimed. "I can't believe they think that I just do this for the medals and trophies and for bragging rights. Not because it's just something I completely enjoy!"


Mikayla was in a mood, anyone could tell but the way she was acting; but only one person could calm her down, and it wasn't one of her parents.


"To be honest, I think the bragging rights go to them," Elliot said as he put his hands behind his head and shut his eyes. "It's what I call, hypocritical. Meaning behaving in a way that indicates one has higher standards than everyone else."


Typical of Elliot. Spilling out random, crazy words that sound super smart and intelligent to make people feel stupid about themselves. Not Mikayla though, although she was used to it and knew what some of these words meant. It's a habit Elliot has had since halfway through fourth grade where his aunt bought him a dictionary for his birthday and he literally read it in his spare time. He was quite the nerd but in a cool way.


"In what way do you mean that they're being hypocritical?" Mikayla questioned and glanced up at him, still laying on the grass.


"Well look at it this way," Elliot said as he shifted his position without opening his eyes. "They expect you to win every race, bring home the biggest trophies, the shiniest medals, and while you're off busting your ass off in the water, they get to brag off to their friends and coworkers how 'superior' and 'accomplished' their sixteen-year-old daughter is. Thus, making them hypocrites."


"That just makes me hate them more."


Elliot laughed which lifted Mikayla's spirits a bit. No matter what, Elliot had stuck with Mikayla through everything she had been through; thick and thin. He was always there for support, comfort, backup and above all, just an amazing friend. When they did have arguments, however (which was basically almost never) he had a nick for coming out on top and somehow always being right. It sometimes drove Mikayla nuts but it was funny when it happened to other people. Elliot was the greatest friend Mikayla could ever ask for and she wouldn't trade him for anything else in the world.

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