“There’s this scar on the side of my left eyebrow, I just keep hitting that same spot and so it has never really healed. I’ve got a permanent mark there. I used to hate that I had this noticeable thing on my face, but I've grown to like it. There are always stories behind scars. That's kind of cool, really.”

A 15 year old Alex Milligan is on the bike right next to his best friend, Owen Collins, as they get ready to race.

“You’re dead, Milligan. I’ve got this.”

“Please. We’ll see about that.”

Greg stands between them with a flag as though this is the most intense street race Wokingham has ever seen. Olivia and Jess are standing to the side, whistling and clapping excitedly.

3! 2! 1! GOOOOOOOO.

And they’re off. The plan is to make their way down the street, to the same turn around the small park, and then meet in the middle as they come back. They’re off to a good start, both of them, talking shit all the while. There’s a moment where Owen swerves a little too close and Alex freaks out so he slows down which only causes Owen to get faster.

“You bastard!”

He speeds up, faster than he should, trying to get back to being tied like they were. When he turns to yell over to Owen, he finds himself smacking face first into a fence. It causes him to be thrown off the bike, get the wind knocked out of him, and pass out for a few minutes.

Owen’s busy celebrating not seeing Alex beside him until he turns around to bike back and that’s when he notices the stray overturned bike and Alex on the floor.

“Oh shit. Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit!” He stops and throws his bike aside, running over to Alex who has since woken up but is completely disoriented.

“Alex? Alex! Alex. Ey, you okay? Alex.” He’s kneels down beside him now, yelling at the rest of the gang to make their way over. There’s some blood, okay, lots of blood, and immediately he rests Alex’s head on his leg for support. There are some minor cuts in various places but the most scarring is all the blood coming from what seems to be his forehead. Olivia’s the first to run over and immediately at the scene she’s stopped dead in her tracks. They’ll later find out it looks a lot worse than it is at first glance. He just happened to cut open a tricky place with tricky veins, but for now as teenagers who just wanted to hang around the neighbourhood and have some fun this is an unexpected turn of events.

“Liv! Liv. Call the ambulance, and then hand me your headband.” She throws it off her head and to Owen. He holds it down against his forehead to stop the blood which has already ruined his own pants and gotten on the pavement. Alex is finally becoming more aware, so he tries to get up but Owen pushes him back down.

“Where the hell you think you’re going, mate?”

Alex lets out half a laugh, his lungs hurt too much, and he looks up at Owen.

“Don’t think you won that race, it’s not over.”

He gets admitted into the hospital, his parents arrive in a frantic hurry, and a few hours later he’s released with some stitches right above his eye. A week later, he’s back on the bike. The boys don't race, though. They just call each other blood brothers and claim it's even.

"Soph, what the hell are you doing? Get down from there."

"I'm fiiiiiiiiine, Alex! I just wanted to check out these flowers up here!"

"Mum is going to kill me. We've got one full day together, just you and I, we went to go get ice cream, stopped at the park, fed the birds that almost shat on you, you've already picked flowers so why on earth do you have to be up in this tree? I turn around for ONE second..."

"Because these are the nicer flowers with the lovely colors! Come look!"

"No, I'm okay right here. Please get down."

"Al! Pleaaaaaase!"

He sighs loudly, looking up at his younger sister who is visiting while he's recording in New York. She just wants to have a fun day out with her brother and so, what the hell. He starts making the climb up the tree. It's not a very tall one at all but he's already exhausted from the day with this 12 year old and her ability to run around and not get tired at all. It's almost time for them to head back for dinner and she's still bouncing around.

"You know, being up here is a lot nicer than the flat you've got."

"Thanks, Soph."

"I mean you ought to build a treehouse and just live here."

"Yes, very good idea."

"Thanks, I know. Also I think -- uh oh."

Sophie's attempt to grab at another flower ended up in her downfall as she slipped, brought Alex down with her, and had managed to land perfectly because she had her older brother as cushioning to save her from a much more tragic hit. Meanwhile, Alex groaned loudly.


Another groan.

"I'm sorry!! I'm sooooory! Okay. You're okay. You're okay. I'm sorry. But look, I've got such nice flowers we can give to mum now! Right as I fell, I got the pink one too!"

how's the eye you fucking clumsy shithead???
received 12:27
what even happened last night?
sent 12:29
HAHAHAHAHAHA ALEX. you don't remember???? u were at the studio recording & then me and nikki came over to check out some of ur stuff but she was getting bored and horny so we went to the back room to fuck and then when we were back in the control room she took out some e & we were getting wild. you couldn't finish up whatever song you were working on so you came out ready to party
received 12:30
jesus. yeah i kind of remember that part. the beginning, anyway. that doesn't really explain the black eye and cut up brow though
sent 12:30
we started headbanging to ac/dc and you got a little carried away
received 12:31
see you in the studio later today right?? got some cool shit coming up for u, just got off the phone w/pitchfork. we'll talk l8r bud
received 12:31
“Can you just talk to me rationally for one second?”

She was too busy moving around the hotel room to say anything back to him, but she did have time to shoot him a glare as she took a pile of clothes and shoved them into her bag while huffing and puffing.

“Please, just come on.” He made his way over to touch her arm and she quickly tore it away, pointing a finger at him angrily.

“You! You were the one that fucking told me to come here, Alex! We spent all last week oohing and ahhing about how much fun it would be for me to be with you on tour, so here I am…and where are you? Because I think we maybe had two dinners together, one of which was with your entire tour crew, and then we went for that walk after your show. That is it. I paused my entire life for you and you don’t even give a shit. I don’t think I ask for much, do I? Because I don’t really think wanting the guy I'm seeing to pay attention to me is too much to ask for.”

She continued moving around the room in a daze, finally grabbing her shoes to shove them at the top of the suitcase.

“Will you just stop for one fucking second? I know it’s been a lot busier than expected but I will make it up to you, we’ll go out tonight. How about that? Just you and me, no one else, I’ll get something together and — “

“No, Alex! You see, that’s just it with you. You think that your stupid smile and calm attitude is just going to make everything okay but I’m not falling for it. You just want someone to come back to bed to after you’re done doing your stupid musician shit and I am not going to be that. I am worth so much more than that.”

Now he was started to get frustrated because it wasn’t like that at all. Sure, he could admit he hadn’t been as available as she would have liked and there was the fact that he knew the distance had been hard for her so he should have been more willing to ease her worries when she came around, but this is how he tended to operate. Music first, everything else second, no exceptions. That’s all he knew how to do and when someone threatened to try and sneak into first place his frustration came out and he didn’t know how to deal with such a notion. He was able to pen down the way he felt while in love on paper, but sometimes it was a struggle to showcase all that in words.

“Okay, I’m sorry. Look, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize I had all this press shit to do, and then we had everything with the pre-show meet and greets that people were confused with, and —“

“NO, no! It’s always excuses for you, like your job is more important than mine. It’s not. It might be a lot shinier but your life is no better or more important than mine.”

Now he was getting angry, being misunderstood and seeing his words warped in such a negative way tended to do that.

“I never said that, I just wanted to show you the kind of shit that’s been going on with me that's made you feel like this.“

“Right, because everything revolves around Alex Milligan and his busy schedule.”

“That’s pretty fucking ridiculous to say, considering all the times I came out to see you on days off and how things were shifted around and how I did that all with ease because I fucking wanted to.”

The height of her frustration was felt when she grabbed one of her shoes and turned around, whipping it across the room directly to his head where it hit his forehead.

“What the FUCK?”

He rubbed his head, and all she could do was shake her head angrily as she finished zipping up her bag and started to make her way out.

“You need to get your fucking priorities together before you get with someone else and play around with them like you did to me. You, Alex Milligan, are a selfish asshole who doesn't know how to put ANYONE before himself. GOOD. BYE."