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Chapter 1

 

Chris groaned and resisted the urge to slam his hand against his car horn. That wouldn't do any good, besides piss off the person in front of him. There was enough noise from other annoyed drivers as it was, Chris didn't feel like adding to that. Somewhere in Chris' mind, he knew it wasn't the driver in front of him who was to blame for the situation, but that didn't less his annoyance in general. It had been about five hours since Chris started a drive that was only supposed to last two hours, at worst.

 

According to Chris' radio, he was currently stuck in what they called "the world's worst traffic jam", which didn't exactly do anything to get Chris' hopes up about getting out soon. He had moved approximately a quarter of a mile during the last two hours, and it didn't look like the pace was speeding up anytime soon.

 

A lot of people had just decided to leave their cars for a bit, and chose to run around out in the sun instead, making the best of the situation. Chris briefly considered following their example, he could use some fresh air, more than the small amount he got from his rolled down windows, but he hated being in public alone, he always felt so awkward. And if someone recognized him, he would have no way to get away from eager fans, something he didn't feel like dealing with at the moment. He loved his fans as much as the next guy, but in this unbearable heat, - which would definitely cause sunburn if he wasn't careful, - he didn't feel like being around over-excited teenage girls for an excessive amount of time. Of course he had other fans than those, but they were definitely his main fan group.  

 

But after another ten minutes in the car, which felt like it was getting hotter by the second, Chris decided to go outside, just for a little while. First he grabbed some sunscreen from his bag and applied it as good as he could from his slightly awkward position in the car, and then he got out, sighing in relief at the gentle breeze that met him as he did so. The nice refreshment didn't last very long, though. All too soon the wind died down, and Chris was left feeling almost as hot as he did in the car.

 

At least he got a change to stretch his legs, something he hadn't known he needed until he had gotten up and his legs had felt all wobbly. As he walked around a bit, he decided to leave his windows open, since he wouldn't be going very far, and he didn't have anything valuable in there. If he didn't, the car would probably feel like a sauna when he got back, and Chris would definitely like to avoid that. And besides, it wasn't like a thief could get very far away.

 

He could see that someone had set up a stand about one sixty meters up the road, selling water. Several of those stands had been set up all along the highway, to ensure that no one got dehydrated due to the heat wave. On the radio, Chris had heard them say that water would be given out for free, but Chris could clearly see that people were standing in a long line, wallet at the ready. Luckily for him, Chris had enough water to get by for a while, so he didn't have to stand in the ridiculously long water line.

 

As Chris turned away from the stand and back towards his car, he had to push up his sunglasses, which were slipping down the bridge of his nose due to sweat. After walking around for a few more minutes, weaving in between the many cars and people, Chris decided to head back to his car, grabbing a pen and paper, which he always kept in there, to have something Hannah could draw on. He didn't drive with her very often, almost never, in fact, but he always kept it there just in case, and thank god he did. Now he could get a bit of writing done, at least.

 

He also grabbed a bottle of lukewarm water and set up at the side of the road, sitting down on the burning hot asphalt, wincing a bit at first, but quickly getting used to it. The warm water wasn't very inviting, but that was the best he was going to get, and he doubted the make-shift water stand could do much better.

 

Two pages of writing and half a bottle of water later, something suddenly hit Chris' thigh and a high yelp was heard, along with a thump on the ground next to him. Someone had just tripped over him. The guy's feet was in Chris' lap, but he quickly pulled them back and turned to Chris with an apologetic expression, though it was hard to tell because the man's face was so squinty. In the fall he had knocked off a pair of pink sunglasses, which were now lying on the ground next to him.

 

But by the looks of it, he was more focused on collecting all the water bottles he had dropped in the fall. Instinctively, Chris started helping him, grabbing one of the bottles before it rolled out of their reach. He didn't even notice that the other man had started talking before he turned back and the guy was rambling on with an apology. "... so sorry about that, I'm a total cluts, I should really look where I'm going and..." he went on, but he froze when he looked up at Chris' face, the words dying in his mouth.

 

 Chris couldn't read the guy's baffled expression, but it was gone again so quickly that Chris began to doubt if it had even been there in the first place. Before he had time to wonder out loud, or even just introduce himself, the other man began speaking again. "I'm really sorry, man. I will totally make it up to you," he said, looking completely sincere.

 

Chris couldn't help the smile that formed on his face at the promise, holding up his hands in signal for the other man to stop talking. It worked immediately, the other man stopping mid-word, looking curiously and expectantly at Chris. His face was still squinty to spare his eyes from the blaring sun, but Chris could tell he was still smiling. "It's okay. Really. You don't have to do anything, I guess I shouldn't sit on the middle of the road with people running all around me," he pointed out, handing one of the bottles back to the stranger. "I'm Chris, by the way."

 

"Darren," the other man replied, picking up the pink sunglasses and putting them on, flicking his head to get some of his adorable curls away from his face. "Darren Criss."

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