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US Skins: Tea

Fan Fic: My Mistakes Were Made For You (1/2) [Skins UK/US- UK!Michelle/US!Michelle]

Title: My Mistakes Were Made For You.

Author: unbound001

Fandom: Skins (Gen 1)/Skins USA

Pairing: UK!Michelle/US!Michelle

Rating: R

Warning: drug use, swearing, implied f/f secks, implied under-aged secks, you know, Skins stuff.

Spoilers: Spoilers for Skins series 1 and 2, and maybe even US Skins, if US Skins follows Series 1 and 2, and man, I don’t even know. There’s spoilers, ok!

Words: 3,802

A/N: Based on this prompt from youlooksick ’s Skins USA ficathon.

Summary: They don’t see any of it, but Michelle does. She sees it all. She feels it. She breathes it. She sees herself.


We've all been changed from what we were
Our broken hearts left smashed on the floor

The door handle rattles beneath Michelle’s fingertips as the wheels of a dodgy Volvo—she thinks it’s a Volvo, or the last one could have been a Volvo; she’s not even sure anymore—drift almost too smoothly to a stop against gritty asphalt.

A gust of wind takes away the delusion of choice, powering the door away from fragile hands, and fuck, it’s cold outside; colder than she ever imagined, not that she imagined anything; she doesn’t even know what she’s doing here.

She watches from the pavement as Cassie leans over the drivers’ side of the car, smiling enthusiastically and offering the driver—a rugged man in his mid-30s—a rolled up wad of bills. It looks like a lot of money and she wonders for a second if maybe Cassie still hasn’t gotten this American money thing down yet, but of course she has, it’s not even that different, and even if it was, she’s already been here four years; enough for her to occasionally hold on to her r’s and glow with a radiance of a smooth even tan that not even the brutality of the worst of New York winters could take away.

She’s not the Cassie that Michelle remembers, yet somehow she’s the exact same Cassie that Michelle remembers. She still the hauntingly thin girl with the cracked past, and the crumbling present, she’s still that Cassie, but there’s a solidity there now, a solidity that Michelle can’t even begin to place.

She supposes four years can do that to people.

She knows these four years haven’t been the kindest to her.

She wonders how they’ve been to Sid. She wonders if he replaced that beanie that Tony plucked from his head mere moments before he ventured into his new life. She wonders if he’s cut his hair, grown it maybe. She wonders if he found stable work or if he flits about from workplace to workplace, something that she always imagined he’d do until he found stable footing at least.

She thinks it was probably Sid she came here to see in the first place. She’s not even sure really.

She remembers how the key felt in her palm, light and jagged, the first time she picked it up. She remembers the box it came cased in, encrusted in intricate heart shaped jewels, the word forever carefully engraved into the middle. She remembers the planning, weeks of planning; snapping pictures of her newest bought dresses and texting them to Jal to critique before packing them in her oversized handbag. And of course, she remembers Tony’s face, his eyes cold and unapologetic as he stared at her—almost right through her—with his fingers clenched in golden coloured hair, thrusting a girl’s face—she was probably pretty. Only the best for fucking Tony—harder into his crotch.  

It’s a blur from then on, memories distorted from tears and alcohol. She doesn’t know where she dropped the key to his Cardiff flat, only that she dropped it somewhere, maybe into the sewage system, maybe at his doorstep. She’s not sure how she got to Jal’s flat in East London, or even how she secured a bottle of scotch on the journey there. She does remember seeing a postcard of Time Square—the ones that Cass and Sid always sent, the ones that had eventually ceased coming— on Jal’s wall, against the collage of pictures that would have probably made Chris proud.   

The trip to New York is just as distorted, but she remembers Cassie’s face when she had opened the door, her lips curling into a smile like she’d just seen her yesterday, like the last time she’d seen her hadn’t been four long years ago, when she had stormed away from her, angry for reasons Michelle is only beginning to understand.

She remembers Cassie uttering, “oh, wow, ‘Chelle!” into her hair as she pulled her into a hug and then, “You’re probably here to see Sid. Well you can’t, because he’s in Miami, probably fucking girls. That’s what Sid does now, he goes all about the place and fucks girls, because he thinks I’m fucking Adam and him fucking girls will make me jealous. Where’s Tony? Oh! He’s probably somewhere fucking girls as well, isn’t he? Do you want something to drink? I have vodka. Oh, and 151; it burns so good, ‘Chelle! Do you want to go on a trip? Hold on, let me get my coat!”

And now they’re here—Michelle’s not really sure where—three days and about a dozen kind random strangers with cars or lorries, later.  

Cassie spins on her heels across the street, money still clutched between reddened fingertips, because without a doubt, the driver handed it right back to her, like the one before him, and the one before that one as well.  

“Come on, ‘Chelle,”  

Michelle follows her wordlessly, hands dug into her pockets for warmth, until they reach the nearest petrol station. 

There’s probably something to be said about half dressed girls with no vehicle walking into petrol stations in the middle of the night, because the attendant doesn’t even look at them twice before he’s pulling out little plastic bags from under the counter. Some have leafs, some have pills, some have powders, and there’s an odd few with little clear bottles containing various coloured liquids.

Cassie breaks into a smile right away, either happy at the prospect of getting high—because if Michelle’s honest, she hasn’t really been good company thus far, and maybe if Cassie could see three of her, she could at least converse with one of them— or at the prospect of finally being able to spent her money, or the combination of both, because Cassie slaps down the wad of money on the counter before the man can even finish displaying his stash.

Cassie chooses two bags of pills—one plain looking and one multicoloured—and the brightest coloured liquid she can find. She takes two of the plain white pills right away and turns to Michelle with a frown.  

Michelle furrows her eyebrows. It’s way too early for a bad high. 

“Oh wow, ‘Chelle,” Cassie sways a little on her feet, eyeing Michelle carefully. “You look like you could use these,”

That’s really, probably an insult, one that Michelle would usually take offence to, but she just takes the bag of multicoloured pills Cassie thrusts at her, and shoves them in her pocket. She’s not really in the mood for a high; she’s not really in the mood to explain that to Cassie either so she just nods her acceptance of the fact that she probably doesn’t look her greatest and follows Cassie back into the cold night air.  

The streets are quiet, dark and probably very dangerous for two young women to be walking around unguided, but if there’s another thing Michelle has to add to list of things she’s not in the mood to do, it’s care; she is just not in the mood to give a fuck.  

The streets seem to meld into one, each as dark and unpopulated as the other, and just when Michelle is about to suggest they try to find another ride, she hears it.

Music, loud and unrestrained.

Cassie is bounding off in the direction of it instantly.

It’s not hard to get past the doorman— Cassie has him at the word ‘tourists’—and it definitely isn’t difficult to find the bar, which Michelle situates herself at instantly while Cassie finds someone to actually appreciate her high.  

The first drink comes from a guy standing in the corner of the club, a hat pulled low over eyes that are without a doubt fixed on her; the second is from the barman, and the third from a shaggy blonde guy with piercing green eyes and a dazzling smile; she figures after a few more drinks, she’ll gravitate towards him; if there’s one thing she’s never not in the mood for, it’s sex. 

It’s not until the fifth drink—something way stronger than she expected—that she starts surveying the place.

Dancing doesn’t seem like so much of a bad idea anymore, provided she finds space on the dance floor and somebody cute to dance with.

She’s assessing the mass of sweaty, gyrating bodies when she sees it.

When she sees her.

Maybe that last drink was even stronger than she thought—or laced with something—because she could swear that the scene before her plays out in the slowest of slow motions.

She sees the girl first. A redhead. Young,—she couldn’t be more than sixteen—pretty, vibrant. She’s with friends, a group of friends, none of which should probably be here, but it’s not like they care; Michelle remembers being sixteen, being at parties she shouldn’t have been at, drinking drinks she shouldn’t have been drinking; she remembers it like it was yesterday.

There’s a guy with her, his arm wrapped around the slope of her shoulders possessively. Clearly she’s his, and obviously no one around them is going to protest to that.

When the guy’s arm loosens, Michelle notices instantly. She notices as his eyes leave his group of friends, notices that he laughs in time with them even though his eyes and mind are suddenly elsewhere, are suddenly fixated on a blonde tramp on the dance floor who relishes in the attention, who sways her hips more seductively, who dips lower, and licks her lips, gazing at him with an intensity that could probably melt fire. She notices when his arm drops completely, notices the dash of freckles over shoulders left bare of protection both from clothing—she’s really not wearing much of it— and boyfriend.

She sees when he makes his decision; sees it flit across his features like a film. Her heart slows when he makes his move to get up. She wants to call out, wants to tell him that he’s an idiot, that his girlfriend is gorgeous and so obviously into him, but she remains silent and watches as his mouth moves, no doubt forming a foray of lies and excuses.

The girl accepts his words easily, smiling graciously as he leans down and presses a quick kiss to her lips.  

His cocky smirk as his motions to the blonde on the dance floor very nearly makes Michelle want to walk right over there and hit him—a few more drinks and she probably would, but this isn’t her problem to deal with; she can barely deal with her own problems.

She could easily turn right back to the bar, get a few more drinks, commence her earlier plan of finding a suitable dance partner even, but the guy is still right there, smiling self-assuredly, with his hand on the smalls of the blonde’s back, leading her into a more private area of the club.   

He almost makes it out clear, mere seconds and he would have, but the redhead turns just in time to see his hand slip lower, to see as he pulls the blonde in dangerously close, and laugher dies right on her lips.

Her friends don’t seem to notice her sudden distress. They don’t see the way her jaw tightens as she struggles to hold back a frown that would be more than tragic on such a pretty face. They don’t see the way tears cling to mascara blotted eyelashes, fearing their impending fall. They don’t notice the way her cheeks redden and her hands tremble as she quickly excuses herself, declining both offers from her two female friends as they offer to accompany her to the bathroom.  They don’t see any of it, but Michelle does. She sees it all. She feels it. She breathes it. She sees herself.

She sees herself at sixteen: pretty, fashionable, naive, with constant tear stained cheeks. She sees Tony with that patronizing half-smile, leaning down to kiss her with lips that even taste like lies. She hears his words, “I’ll be back in a few, Nipz. Gonna get us more drinks,” or sometimes even a simple, “I’ll be back in a bit.”

Most of all, she sees a canvas. She sees a girl who’s picture has only begun to be tainted, she sees what a beautiful picture it could be with the right artist and the right colours and the right paint. Maybe that’s the reason Michelle slides off of her barstool with far too much ease for someone who has drank as much as she has, maybe that’s the reason she slips easily through a crowd of sweaty bodies, following perfectly tussled red hair and a lightly freckled back, until she feels the cold wood of the bathroom door beneath her palm.

The girl is already over the sink, washing away the bitter sting of tears and betrayal from lightly blushed cheeks. 

“Forget about him,” The words sound harsh in this quiet desolate bathroom where only remnants of a bass line seem to penetrate through thick walls. “He’s an idiot.”

The girl sniffles, rubbing ruthlessly at the new coat of tears that cling to her skin.

“You don’t know him,” She says quietly, and that stings Michelle in a way she’s not quite prepared for, because she sees herself again, defending a wayward Tony the first time he cheated, and then again the second, and the third... she wonders how many times this girl has said the exact same words, maybe to different strangers in different clubs.

“I don’t have to know him,” she says, and at first she thinks she’s saying it because she knows someone like him. She knows Tony; she knows Tony who tied strings on her like a puppet, who turned a girl with a heart the size of Europe into Tony’s Michelle, into the girl that would do anything for him, the girl who trusted his empty ‘I love you’s even though it was clear that he loved her like any man would love something they could barter, the girl that easily accepted his lies, and accepted his transgressions as simple flaws. She knows that Tony, she knows of his manipulation and his blind control but even more than that, she knows this. She knows crying tears until it felt like they could burn through her skin; she knows the ways sobs sound echoed off of deep bass lines in empty bathroom stalls, she knows this so fucking well, and that’s why she says it, because it doesn’t matter if she knows him or not, what she does know is a girl in need when she sees one.

“He’s just—,” the redhead begins, the words dying on her lips as she tries desperately to wipe away tears that won’t stop falling.

“An arsehole?” Michelle supplies, moving to sit on the bathroom counter.

The redhead smiles slightly at that, the sides of her lips quirking minimally against the hundreds of emotions threatening to spill through muscles, and tears.

“Yeah,” she agrees quietly. “That.” She rubs at the wetness coating her cheeks. “It’s just, sometimes I don’t think he means to be, you know? Because he loves me, he does, he just doesn’t—”

“Love you enough?”

“No,” she says quickly, too quickly to be anything but a rehearsed defence of a guy whose transgressions number many. She sighs, swiping at smudged make-up that is obviously beyond repair. “Yes,” She finally admits. “I’d give him anything and most of the time I don’t feel like I’m good enough for him. I don’t know what’s wrong with me!”

The tears start again, welling up in the corner of her eyes, and Michelle, almost as if on reflex, reaches forward to catch them, brushing each stray tear away with the pads of her thumbs.   

“There’s nothing wrong with you,” she soothes, letting her fingers act as nets to tears to feel to her very core as her own. “You’re gorgeous,” she means it. “You’re perfect,” she means it; she’s almost surprised by how much she means it; what she’s even more surprised by is the feeling of lips brushing against her softly.

It’s quick, very quick, almost like feeling her softest cotton t-shirt brush against her lips as she pulls it over her head, because the redhead pulls away almost instantly, looking as surprised as Michelle feels.

“Sorry,” she apologises, cheeks reddened. “I didn’t mean to do that. I—”

“It’s ok,” Michelle says, and, honestly, she means that too.

The redhead shakes her head, like she’s trying to gather her thoughts, or brush them away.

“I’m not a—”

“I’m not either,” Michelle says.

“Okay. Well, alright then,”

And that should be the end of it. The redhead’s not crying anymore, and Michelle should really consider it a job well done, or her good deed of the day, or something, instead, she finds herself gazing out the bathroom window where the moon’s shining high in the sky. She’s gotten out of higher windows.

“Do you wanna get out of here?” 

The redhead purses her lips, like she’s contemplating it. Her friends are still out there, as well as her cheating boyfriend, and music that’s probably too loud, and guys that will no doubt hit on her...  

Fuck it,” She says. “Yeah!”