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Adrian isn’t looking for a boyfriend. He’s focused on school and social situations make him anxious. When his mother encourages him to make a friend and be more outgoing, he takes a chance at a party. It doesn’t live up to expectations. His classmates ignore him and the alcohol tastes bad. Worse? Oliver finds him moping in the bathroom.

Oliver, the class clown and know-it-all, might grate Adrian’s last nerve, but he’s the only one paying Adrian any attention. Not only does Oliver flirt him into a bedroom, he charms Adrian’s pants off. Adrian loses his virginity to a man he doesn’t even like and in the morning his anxiety spirals into full panic. They didn’t use protection and popular-with-everyone Oliver insists they need to get tested.

Adrian is sure this isn’t the kind of friendship his mother meant and he tries to distance himself. But it turns out Oliver’s brash personality is just a mask to hide his own insecurities and family embarrassments. Adrian can relate. Oliver may be a know-it-all, yet Adrian can’t abandon him. Besides, they still need their test results. But how can the popular kid be friends with him when Adrian doesn’t want to come out of his shell?

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Published: 07/24/2015
Publisher: Arctic Circle Press

I hate parties.

I hovered by the door leading into the living room. It was crowded with people drunk off their arses. They looked, quite frankly, ridiculous the way they tried to flirt and hook up with each other. It was disgusting. No one had better come over to me with their cheesy pick-up lines. 

I wanted to leave. But the front door was on the opposite side of the living room. To get there I had to cross said room full of people who would notice me. Not that anyone had spoken to me yet since I arrived, but I had been invited. Probably because I’d been within earshot when my classmates had been talking about it, but I had been asked nonetheless.

Why did I say yes? 


That was the million dollar question. I didn’t like parties, I didn’t like being sociable. I wasn’t good at it. Drawing attention to myself… I couldn’t do it.

People headed for the kitchen, almost shouting at each other to be heard over the music and everyone else.

I drew back and turned to find somewhere to hide.

My gaze fell on a door that had a simple WC sign on it. Really? What was the point of that in their own house? That was the kind of sign for public toilets. Maybe that was the point.

Still, it was a room. A door with a lock.

I could hide in there until the party calmed down and I dared to venture into that living room. I did this for you, Mum. I opened the door and found the room empty. I breathed a sigh in relief. You wanted me to be sociable and here I am. Never again. Never ever. This was the last time I tried. Being cooped up in my room was heaven compared to this.

I closed the door after me. A bottle clinked against the wood. I looked down at my other hand and the beer bottle clutched in it. I’d forgot about it in my panic facing the living room. Someone had pressed it into my hand when I’d arrived.

I crossed the small room to lean against the smooth wall, slowly sinking down to sit on the floor.

I should go home and enjoy my own company. Get on the laptop and get online. Play a game, do coursework, anything else but sitting here hiding. I didn’t even have my sketchbook with me, so I couldn’t draw. I could do that at home though.

I sat the bottle of beer on the floor next to me. I eyed it. I had drunk from it and it had tasted like piss. Not that I knew what that tasted like, but it was what I imagined it would taste like. I hadn’t ever drunk alcohol—never felt the need to. Not having any mates or being sociable meant I’d never experienced any peer pressure.

Tonight was, apparently, a night for new adventures though. I took another sip of the vile thing and almost choked as a result. I forced it down on sheer willpower. Perhaps tonight was the night I would experience being drunk. It wouldn’t take long if I got the beer down. Not being used to alcohol, I wouldn’t need much to feel the effects. Or so the internet told me. Why anyone liked beer, or would drink it to savour the taste, was beyond me.

I drank some more. Torturing myself was what I was doing. I should leave, but then I’d have to go through the living room where everyone was gathered. I couldn’t do that. I couldn’t risk having all their attention on me—it would definitely leave me in a state of panic.



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