"Think I should have another drink?" Mina said merrily, leaning back onto Scott so her hips were against his leg and her curly head against his chest. He did not look like he was going to complain about the physical contact any time soon.
"Maybe not." I said, amused and possibly more than buzzing myself after the 3 very strong whiskey sours Brian's friend had fixed for me. Brian had also paid for them and made sure they kept coming.
"Are you trying to get me drunk?" I asked him playfully as he handed me my latest one.
Even in the dark of the theatre I could see his face darken in a blush, and he grinned. "Hell, yeah!"
Snowborne was almost done with their set, and they really were kicking ass again. Zane... Zane was Zane-like. He looked incredible, wearing what I think were the same incredibly sexy jeans he wore last time, and of course the same lust-worthy boots. It was hotter in here then it had been at the Blow, so he hadn't even bothered to start with two shirts, wearing a perfectly tight black T Shirt with some design on it and grey edges and collar. From what I could tell at a distance he had trimmed his hair so it was a bit less wild, but we were a lot further back in this much larger venue then we had been last time, so I wasn’t quite sure.
This was largely my idea, as I really didn't want to be super-close to the stage as we had been before. This was both because of my silly pride and because this was a bigger and crazier venue. Judging by the fervor of the people here, Snowborne was bigger, also. The fact that their single had been doing very well on the charts and that this was their second to last show on their North American tour showed, and the crowd was bouncing off the walls.
Mina sweetly supported my suggestion that we don't throw ourselves into the mad throng that gathered in front of the stage after the Sin slinked off, and Brian seemed generally happy to be there and less picky about where we stood. He was only drinking beer, so he didn't seem to be sliding down the slippery slope as quickly as the rest of us were.
But perhaps that was simply because he wasn't as outwardly drunk, as he was hanging very close to me to the point where I had to get over a stupid knee jerk reaction to being in public and the niggling desire to inch away from him. No one gave a crap here. I had even seen a couple of other gay couples all over each other.
We had just danced our asses off to "Break off", their one really dance-y song that was heavy on the synth, and Brian had been so effusive about complimenting me on my dancing instead of just letting me dance I had to kiss him to shut him up. It was the only thing I actually knew I wasn't horrible at, and while it was nice to hear I just wanted to let loose.
But he was sweet, damn cute, Mina and Scott seemed to approve, and it was cool how on his skin he lived.
Zane was now singing an older song of theirs that really highlighted his deep, seductive voice, and as Brian and Scott were bullshitting animatedly about something, I wandered off a bit. I must have been staring in a particular way because Mina smacked me on the back of the head.
"All, all... hot for him. I don't know."
I laughed. "Would you believe me if I told you I'm pretty much over it?"
"Yeah, yeah?" She poked me in the stomach and I jumped away with a small yell.
"Yeah, damn it!" I protected my midriff and flinched away from her with exaggerated fear.
"I think I believe you. Yea!" She lifted her glass with a cheer and took a sip of the drink she had decided to have despite the prevailing wisdom that she was getting pretty drunk. I laughed and let her stumble into the arms of Scott. "You're cute." She said thoughtfully, and his grin at me was blinding in its inebriated joy.
"They are so hooking up tonight." Brian said in my ear, practically kissing it. I think I turned red, and I felt myself starting to get turned on. Hooking up wasn't a bad idea... He must have sensed that, because his fingers lingered on my arm, and he out and out licked my ear before pulling away and giving me a goofy grin.
Half an hour later we stumbled outside on the crest of the crowd, Brian clutching a new shirt and all of us well on the way to smashed; Scott and him had picked up the pace at the end by doing a massive tequila shot each, leaving me with the dubious distinction of most sober.
The night was cool and beautiful, and everyone around us was thoroughly stoked after a great show. We stood there for a bit, collecting ourselves, and I started to gather myself for a seductive presentation of why we should go dancing when Brian spoke up.
“Hey I hear when they come here they always come out to say ‘hi’ to people because they know the owner and let’s go wait!” Brian suggested with a great gushing breath, bouncing on the balls of his feet.
“Fuck yeah we’ll do it!” Scott said happily.
“Nuh uh we won’t.”
I’m not sure what it was about how I said such a simple phrase, but I was getting the “Ethan’s a TOTAL mood-killer” look of astonishment from everyone again. And my allies had completely deserted me.
“Oh, come ON, Ethan, it’ll be fun.” Mina said with an edge of wickedness only I got. “We have nothing better to do!”
“Please? It will be fun!” Brian gave me massive puppy eyes that were practically blinding. “I really want to meet Zane. You said he’s just as hot in person!”
“Yeah, you did say that, didn’t you, Ethan?” Mina, please die, I attempted to psychically beam at her. But I was out-numbered and out-enthused, so I smiled at Brian and shrugged. Honestly, all I was scared about was appearing as some sick stalker, and I would just hang back so no one saw me.
“Well, I don’t care if he’s hot.” Scott said, patting me on the back. “But bet ya’ a lot of hot chicks are waiting for him that I can check out! OW!” Mina had smacked him in the stomach for that one.
Brian led us around the building, and I hung back as much as I could, attempting to stay behind a bit. He looked over his shoulder at me, confusion on his face. “Were they, like, assholes or something?”
“Uh, no. I just don’t want to be creepy, you know?” A version of the truth. Thank god they were all drunk, because I lied worth shit. Especially when I was drunk.
“You couldn’t be creepy.” He said sweetly, and Mina leaned in with a vodka cloud to remind me how sweet he was in what I think she thought was a whisper.
We approached the sizeable – maybe about 4 dozen people – crowd that was obviously in the know, and the band had already stepped out, 3 large bouncers watching dispassionately, although I watched one skillfully keep a girl from clawing at the guitarist without direct touching her in any way. The blonde she was trying so desperately to get near was looking just as icily unimpressed with his surroundings as he had at the last concert. Remembering the look on his face as he had seen Zane and I together, I was even more set on not being seen by any of them.
My three compatriots in drink moved forward, and I shook my head when Brian looked at me expectantly. He grabbed my wrist, and pulled me forward in a way that brooked no resistance until I really dug in my heels about 50 feet away. There was a fair amount of light, but I wanted to stay away from the crowd’s line of sight as much as I could.
“You guys go.” I practically pleaded. “I’ll be here.”
“Ethan!” Brian said, finally sounding exasperated. He had stopped, and I now had my back to the band and was stubbornly refusing to get any closer to them.
“Ethan, man, NOW you’re being a tool!” Scott stumbled beside me, arm around Mina. “You’re such an anti-social freak!”
“Ethaaaaaaan!” Mina wailed in a very loud voice.
“Will you all just GO? I’ll wait!”
“Alright, fine, wait here.” He touched my arm. “We’ll, we’ll-“ Brian stopped mid-sentence, staring behind me with a stunned expression. “Uh. Yeah. Um.”
I turned slowly.
“Hi.” Zane said as he approached, a note of inquiry in his voice. The bouncers had formed something of a wall behind him as he had broken away, but we could tell the fans were not crazy about it.
Oh, fuck, he looked good. His new hair was brilliant. His hands were casually tucked into his pockets, and he looked a little hunched over, like he was sort of cold. I’d forgotten how tall he was.
“Hi.” I said weakly, like a half-mute idiot. Genius plan to avoid looking like stalker asshole: failure, complete.
His eyes coolly flicked to Brian’s hand on my arm, and through a strange physical detachment that had settled over me I could feel it move away like it had been burned.
“You were at the show?” Zane asked me seriously after a significant and very uncomfortable pause where I moved my eyes away from his. I swear the man didn’t blink at all.
“Yeah.” I admitted. He was shivering.
“How’d we do?”
“You were SO fucking awesome!” Scott bounded in, elbowing me aside. “You might’ve even been better than last time!”
“Yeah?” Zane said with a small smile, but he was still looking at me, which was making me want to start visibly twitching.
“Yeah!” Scott said, “You totally-“
“No way.” Brian’s voice interrupted. I turned to look at him, and he still looked stunned, but differently so. “No fucking way. HIM?”
“HE’S the older guy you hooked up with?” He said incredulously, looking even a bit angry. Oh, God, this must be what hell is like, I thought despairingly. How did he know?
“What?” Scott exclaimed, now staring at me also. “No way!”
“Fuck, I can’t handle this.” Brian said, and he turned and almost ran away in the other direction.
“You didn’t TELL me?” Scott was starting to yell, working himself up. “OMG, you-“
“Scott, shut up.” Mina said, now sounding fairly sober compared to the drunk bimbo she had been 5 minutes ago.
I groaned and put my hands over my face.
“No! Once again he-”
“Shut up, Scott.” Mina and I said in unison. “Come on, let’s go find Brian.” She insisted.
“NOW.” And I could hear her hauling him off, him bitching the whole while in the vein of ‘You bet I’d tell him if I fucked a rock star, I mean, what sort of best friend….’
Just shoot me, please. I thought miserably.
“Sorry, no gun. Or desire to do so, actually.” Zane said with amusement. Had I spoken outloud?
I spread my fingers a bit and peered at him through one eye. He really did have the most beautiful half-smile. I dropped my fingers and sighed.
“I’m sorry; we’re all a little drunk.” And you’re talking to me – why? But honestly, my heart was beating, and I had taken a step forward to look up at him. Half had become a full smile, but he still looked damn cold. “You really should think about buying a jacket.”
He started to laugh.