one.

"Bitches love gingers."

Fitzy announces this to a group of passing girls as they pick their way through the crowd, the keg clearly in sight. They snicker and ignore him, but he continues to speak, turning his attention back to me. "Bitches love gingers," he repeats, "so why are these bitches ignoring me?"

"Well, Fitz, it could be one of three things. One, they might not want to cavort with the second place winners of Battle of the Bands. Two, they probably don't like being called bitches. Or three, maybe it's the fact that you're wearing a shirt with the words ass and titties emblazoned across the chest. That doesn't really scream boyfriend material."

He nods, taking this in, and sips from his beer. The condensation drips from the side of his cup and he sloshes some of his drink onto his white tee. "I think all of the bitches here are lesbians."

"Fitz, for the last time, don't call them-"

"CAN I HAVE THE ATTENTION OF THE MALES IN THE IMMEDIATE AREA?" He screams, beer sloshing down his arm as he waves his cup in the air. People in the general vicinity glance around and shoot disapproving glances toward my friend. "THESE BITCHES ARE LESBIANS," he screams, "PLEASE BUTT FUCK THE MALE CLOSEST TO YOU AND GET IT OVER WITH. THAT IS ALL."

See, there's this thing about people and alcohol: certain people really can't hold it. Fitzy is, in fact, one of those people. He gets sloshed after three beers and it only gets worse from there. If we're being honest here, that's probably why Fitzy can't get laid at parties. He gets trashed, gets a girl in bed, and vomits on her before he's even got the condom on. I love him, he's hilarious, but he's a lightweight.

Lightweights are generally not my idea of fun. Drinking isn't either, really, but that's beside the point.

"Fitzy," I hiss, "you're going to get our asses kicked. Shut the fuck up."

He lowers his chin to his chest and glares at me for a few long seconds. "You, sir, are forgetting who we are. We just won second place in Battle of the Bands, my dear Adam. Who would have the audacity to kick the ass of such winners?"

"Um, I don't know, probably the guys who won first place? God, where's Brynne?" I spot her and grab his arm, pulling him in the general direction of our drummer. He knocks my hand away and opens his mouth to harass a blonde girl trying to get past him.

"Hey, baby, do you know how much a polar bear weighs?"

I walk away before I can hear her response. I'm not playing wingman just to get stuck driving the drunk girl home, which Fitzy makes me do often.

I find Brynne, my drummer, smashed between three different bodies, all grinding against her, all female. She's drinking some pink concoction and singing along to some shitty cover being played onstage. She gives me a nod, which is more than I should expect from her when she's busy with her tiny fan base of carpet-munching groupies, and I nod back before deeming her a lost cause.

Tonight was supposed to be one of those crazy end-of-the-summer gigs everyone goes to the weekend before school starts up. Battle of the Bands 2011 was supposed to be ours. I'd looked up the other eight bands performing, assured myself that we had the victory in our pockets, and then a ninth band dropped into the lineup at the last minute, effectively dashing our chances of winning.

Coming in second to a band named The Everyday Losers is the reason I give myself for Fitzy's premature drunkenness and Brynne's cool attitude. She hadn't wanted to do the competition because of The Everyday Losers. She'd kept telling me they were a bunch of asshole seniors from school who thought their shit didn't smell, and I'd assured her that they weren't performing.

That is, they weren't supposed to.

But then they took they stage, ear-fucked the crowd, and stole the first place trophy. Fitzy spent their entire performance screaming,"Hate them, hate them, hate them, hate them," while aiding Brynne with keg stands. I stood back and watched Brynne nearly break her nose twice, not wanting to see the band onstage rip our covers to pieces.

I've never listened to them, nor have I seen them perform, so I can't really say I hate them as a band. I definitely hate them as people though, simply because they're assholes for getting a late entry into the contest.

In the end, Fitzy managed to piss on their drum set shortly after they left the stage and the prizes had been given out. He swore no one saw him, that he was "as sneaky as a motherfucker," but I'm still not sure I believe him.

(Side note: whether anyone saw him or not is debatable. I heard some definite cheering while he was hiding/pissing, and the third-placers gave him high fives. Looking back, it's a shady setup).

I hang around the keg for a while, waiting to spot Fitzy again, but there are over five hundred people at this party and they're spread out across the venue. He's probably performing a mammogram on the blonde by now, anyways. I think about pulling Brynne away from her groupies, but she's pissed at me and I don't want to fight with her over The Everyday Losers. Instead, I amble up the stage and slip into the back. It's pretty empty; I pick up a piece of trampled-on sheet music and inspect the notes scrawled messily across the top. Change keys, voice too low, is scribbled along the margin; I sigh and toss the paper back on the ground.

"Hey man, how's it going?" Some guy is looking at me and talking. I glance around, trying to see who he's addressing, and he laughs. "I'm talking to you, dude. What's up?"

I shrug and kick at the floor. He's distantly familiar, but I can't place where I've seen him. "Alright. How're you liking the party?"

He runs a hand through his choppy black hair, a ring on his index finger catching the light. "Parties aren't really my thing, so it's as good as it can be. You're from Fire Hazard, right? Second place, should've gotten first?"

I take a deep breath and glance around again. There are a few people filtering in and out now, mainly band members picking up lucky guitar picks they'd forgotten or crew members beginning to take down equipment. "We got second, yeah, but I'm not sure about deserving first."

The guy shrugs and shoves his hands into his pockets, eying my t-shirt with interest. "Yeah, well, I thought you guys deserved it. I fucked up on some blink lyrics, totally screwed up the whole song. The only reason we were in the competition is because my drummer's uncle donates money for the competition, so he pulled some strings."

I nod, hyperaware of the boysboysboys logo on my chest. I'm gay, he knows it, and I'm probably going to get the shit beaten out of me for it. "Flubbing lyrics is better than not even knowing the tabs. Seventh place band did that. They're a bunch of thirteen year-olds , so I think it was a pity vote."

"Well…" he rocks back on his heels. "Like I said, parties aren't really my thing, and I couldn't help but notice that you didn't seem to be having all that much fun either. I was gonna go grab a bite to eat, if you want to come with me."

The ring catches the light again; this time I notice it's got a circle with an arrow pointing up. Gay. He shoves his hands back into his pockets and raises his brows, waiting for an answer. He's gay; I'm gay. It's so painfully obvious that he's asking me out that my stomach flips and my face heats up. Gay guys aren't exactly common in our small town, and one asking me out is practically unheard of. An attractive guy asking me out is legendary, mythical, even, but it's happening. Right now.

"It's better than anything else I have going on tonight."

He grins. "Awesome. I'm Danny, by the way."

"Adam." I follow him off the stage and out a back door. He pulls keys from his pocket and swings them around his finger, whistling as he does.

It looks like second place has its perks after all.

Author's Note

Danny and Adam are two characters that have been living in my head for a little over a week now. They're been screaming over the other two men in my head, Dexter and Kyler, so I took a quick break from them and sat down to write this.

Leave a review, please, because I live off of them. Seriously. I'm returning all reviews, no character/line limits, so come on and drop a line! :)

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