‹ Prequel: Come Wake Me Up
Status: finished. look out for the third story.

We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together

who knows.

“How are your parents?” Alex wonders as he mixes his cereal. “You never talk about them anymore.”
I shrug. “They’re alright, I guess.” I stare down into my coffee, and I can feel Alex staring at me. He knows I’m lying.
As if an answer to my prayers, my phone goes off to distract me from this conversation. My brother’s name overtakes the phone screen along with a picture of he and I from Christmas. “Hey, Cody, what’s up?” I greet.
“Promise you won’t be mad?”
Hearing that phrase coming from my seventeen-year-old brother’s mouth might be the most horrifying thing on the face of the planet. “Oh my god,” I groan. “What did you do?”
“I’m at the Baltimore airport. I need you to come pick me up.”
“You’re kidding me. Cody, what the hell are you doing there?” I rise from the kitchen table and head for the door. Alex follows with a concerned look on his face. I slide into my shoes and snatch up my car keys.
“Mom and Dad were fighting, Mom left, Dad got drunk…I ran away. I don’t think they even know I left.”
“How did you pay for a plane ticket?”
“I stole Dad’s credit card. It’s not like he’ll miss it.”
“Cody!” I let out a slow breath. “I’ll be there in a half hour. Hang tight.” I hang up the phone and turn to Alex. “I have to go pick up my idiot brother. He ran away from home and came here.”
“Do you want me to come with you?” I shake my head.
“We’ve got a lot to talk about on the car ride.” I pull open the door, but Alex stops me.
“Why’d he leave?”
I purse my lips, glancing down at my shoes. “My parents are separating. Look, Alex, I’ve got to go get him before he does something else stupid. Cane we talk about this when I get back, please?”
Despite his upset of me not sharing, he nods and sends me on my way.

Cody shuts the car door. “I know you’re going to tell me I’m an idiot,” he begins, “but you’d do the exact same thing.”
I look at my brother for a moment—the purple-blue color rimming his eye and the fact that he looks like he hasn’t showered in three days. “I know. You could have at least called and given me a warning. I don’t know where you’re going to stay.”
“What are you talking about? You have your own place.”
“No, not right now I don’t. Rachel and I don’t talk anymore; I moved out.”
“What? Where are you living now?”
“With Alex,” I mutter.
“I thought you weren’t talking to Alex.”
I sigh. “I wasn’t.” I feel Cody looking at me expectantly. “We’re kind of back together.” Cody lets out a laugh.
“How are you kind of back together with someone?”
I shrug and glance at my phone that’s buzzing in my lap from a text message. “It just hasn’t been made official yet. I think he’s just terrified of fucking up again.”
We share a small laugh, and the rest of the car ride is mostly silent between us until we get to Alex’s house. “So, this is where they live.” I nod, but Cody freezes mid-driveway. “Are they all home right now?”
“Probably. Maybe not Zack. He normally goes to the gym around now.” Cody furrows his eyebrows. “I’ve been living with them for a while. Alex doesn’t really want me to leave.”
“Oh my god. I’m about to enter the house of All Time Low.”
“Pull yourself together. I’m hungry.” I head into the house, and Cody trails behind me. “Alex?”
“I’m in the kitchen,” he answers. I drop my keys into the key basket and kick off my shoes before following his voice and the sound of music. He’s on his laptop. “This new record is going to be sick.” He looks up and smiles widely. “Flyzik just sent me the studio time confirmation, and I just finished the rough edit of our single.”
I smile back. “Good. Is Cassadee going to be there this time? I haven’t seen her in so long.”
Alex shrugs. “She might. Depends on if she’s doing that solo tour and when the dates of it are. Where’s your brother?”
I turn around, and he’s awkwardly gawking at Rian who is awkwardly staring right back. “Virginia…?”
“That’s my brother. Sorry, he’s a creep.”
“Oh!” Rian’s gaze snaps up at me. “This is Cody? Sick! You two don’t even look related.”
“I know.” I take a seat across from Alex and see who the text was from. “What the fuck?” Alex looks up at me. “I have a text from Rachel. We haven’t spoken in almost a month.”
“What’s it say?”
I open the message and read it out loud. “Moving out of the apartment today. Can’t afford it on my own. I left my key on top of the doorframe. All your shit is still here. You can have the apartment if you want it.”
I look up at Alex. “That’s great, babe!” I nod in agreement, looking over the text. “What’s wrong?”
“This is scary,” I confess. “Alex, Cody isn’t going to go back home. My parents are going to be livid, and they won’t want him home. I already work two jobs, double shift when possible, and I’m starting grad school…I can’t pay for all of this. I can barely pay for myself as it is.”
Alex glances behind me to where I can hear Rian and Cody talking about drumming. “Babe—“
I hold my hand up to stop him. “Before you even offer, Alex, don’t.”
“Why not? I promised your dad I’d support you, and what kind if boyfriend would I be if I didn’t?”
“It’d be one thing if we were married, or even engaged…maybe even living together. But, we’re not, and I can’t let you do that.”
“So, you plan on single-handedly paying for your schooling, your brother’s schooling, all of your bills, and then food and clothing?” I open my mouth to say something, but I realize how far-fetched of an idea that really is. “Virginia, I know you like to do things on your own, but this is something you can’t do without someone’s help.”
“My parents—“
“Virginia, babe, I’m offering, and you know that it’s not even close to a burden on me.” I purse my lips and look down at my phone, which rests between us on the table. “I’m literally making money as we speak.”
“I can’t take your money like that, Alex. You’ve worked hard for it, and you already know how I feel about this healthcare bullshit. I’m not taking money from someone who’s worked hard for it to pay for things I haven’t worked for.”
Alex chuckles and shakes his head. “You think you haven’t been working hard? How many hours did you work yesterday?”
“And the day before?”
I sigh and shake my head before answering with, “Ten.”
“You call that not working hard? You’re the hardest worker I know. Please, let me help you. I can’t stand to see you struggle when I know I can help.”
I still shake my head in refusal. “No, Alex. It’s part of growing up. I have to learn to pay for things myself.”
“Yeah, you paid for your entire undergrad college tuition by yourself. At least let me pay your rent?” I shake my head again, and he rolls his eyes. “Half of it. That’s what you’re already paying now. It’ll be like nothing’s changed.”
I purse my lips tightly and internally debate. “Fine, but I swear to God, if I find out you paid for one other thing—“
“You’ll dump my sorry ass. I know, I know.” I roll my eyes as he laughs. “You should probably answer that.” He points down to my mom’s ID popping up on my phone.
♠ ♠ ♠
how do you always have an opinion?
and how do you always know
the best way to compromise?
we don't need anything.