Blake has absolutely nothing in common with his ex's annoying hippie roommate. So why are they hanging out together?
Blake is totally not still hung up on Jeff, his hot ex-boyfriend. And he's so not sleeping with Bob, Jeff's annoying hippie roommate. Except he is. And even though they have absolutely nothing in common, Bob might just show Blake that there's more to their relationship than just sex. If Blake can share some of his secrets and let his guard down just a little bit.
Someone was banging on the door to Blake's room. What the fuck? He knew his parents lived to torture him, but it was only a little after ten in the morning, and Blake's head was pounding. His pillowcase was streaked with the glittery stuff that Stevie had applied around Blake's eyes last night when they went out, because he'd been way too fucking trashed to take it off before he went to sleep. Blake didn't party much most of the time because he was trying to keep his grades up so he could get into a highly selective college and get out of here. They wouldn't see him for the dust.
"Blake!" That was his mother yelling. If he kept quiet she'd probably go away, although he'd pay for it later.
It had been New Year's Eve, though, and Blake was under a lot of stress. So he'd thought, why not let his hair down a little? It had been a great night. Stevie had been a little weird lately, but he'd been back to his old self, laughing and kidding around. He'd even been totally okay with being affectionate in front of the whole party.
"Blake, will you please unlock this door!" That was his mother again, and she definitely wasn't going away. Grumbling, he stumbled out of bed.
At least he'd put on lounge pants before he'd crashed. He yanked the door open.
He'd never seen an expression like that on her face. He waited for her to say something about the make-up, the hangover, or the hour he'd come in at. Instead, she said, "Blake honey, I'm so sorry, but we just got a phone call from Stevie's sister. There's been, a...an um, horrible accident."
She kept going, but the world grayed out, and Blake didn't need to be told that Stevie wasn't in the hospital.
Blake scowled into the mirror, unsure if he'd achieved perfection or not. Not that it mattered much because Trenton and Cory had bailed on him. Cory had an excuse, but Trent was just lame, and now here he was, stuck with a less than scintillating twenty-second birthday outing. Oh, well. Stupid college bar with his apartment mates was still better than staying at home.
Blake examined himself critically again. The lightweight, off-white sweater fitted him damn well. He'd shaved, exfoliated, used an old toothbrush and a little Vaseline on his lips, and then very judiciously employed the tinted moisturizer, a neutral cream eyeliner, a little grooming wax for his eyebrows, a barely rose tinted low shine lip gloss, and just a smidge of mascara. His hair was perfect as usual, and he looked good, but not like mid-eighties Duran Duran on a bender, which was always a possibility with guys and make-up, and not a memo Cory had gotten.
The odds of getting laid in the local crunchy haven weren't good, but at least it wouldn't be because he'd let himself go. Before Blake turned from the mirror he saluted his image, tipped an imaginary hat, and said softly, "Here's to you, Stevie. I'm gonna go have a good one for you."
Maybe some year he'd forget, but every birthday, every milestone, he tried to remember to do that. It probably helped that Stevie's birthday was only a week after Blake's. Not that it meant anything anymore, because Stevie would always be sixteen. He would always be the baby-faced kid in the striped shirt with the black eyeliner and blond streaks in that stupid little lock of hair on his forehead, just like in the last pictures Blake had of him.
Blake sighed. At least he didn't slam his fist into the wall anymore, like he had that first year, when he had turned seventeen and there was no Stevie, would never be any Stevie, to celebrate it with him. He was not going to think about that all night, either, because he'd get mad, then drunk, and be pretty useless. He didn't think that was what his best friend and first lover would have wanted. Blake was going to have a good time, drink but not too much, dance, even if it ended up being to stupid hippie shit or Miley Cyrus, and get laid if he could.
* * *
Two hours later, he was wondering why this had seemed like more fun than finishing a paper for Victorian Lit. There was a band instead of a DJ and they were playing ancient hippie crap that even the granola-lovers couldn't dance to, the beer was even warmer and pissier than usual, both of his roommates had hooked up and disappeared, which meant he was walking home alone in the cold, and the absolute cherry on top of the sucky birthday pie?
His ex, Jeff, still hot but absolutely off-limits, was there with his previously straight boyfriend. How humiliating was that? Not only could Blake not keep a damn boyfriend, he'd lost his man to a straight guy. Technically, they had been broken up when that happened, but he would so have gotten Jeff back if it hadn't.
How the fuck did that even work? Jeff was a top. Not even a little versatile. Did he let the guy fuck him even though he hated it? Did straight guy let Jeff bang him even though that must be super crappy for him? Maybe they just stuck to hand and blowjobs, although that was still pretty freaking weird.
Blake had never been sure if bi guys really existed, although Jeff claimed he was, but even if you accepted that they did, Jeff's new boyfriend, Drew, probably wasn't one of them. Blake had excellent gaydar, and the guy didn't set it off at all. Plus, the dude was staring down the buxom bartender's shirt while he had his hottie boyfriend's arm around him. And here Blake was sitting at a back table in a bar full of hippies who were probably too mellow to think about sex.
The universe really wasn't fair. Blake figured he'd get one more drink then leave. He'd head home and see if he was sober enough to get some work done and if he wasn't, go to bed early.
Someone plopped down next to him and said, "Dude, you want to split a pitcher? They're on special. It's no good staring at the two of them either, they're totally in love."
Blake turned to look at his new companion and groaned. Bob, grotty sweatshirt, sarong, purple dreads, and all, sat next to him. He was Jeff's roommate and one of Blake's least favorite people on campus.
"Don't you have people who want to talk to you that you could split a pitcher with?"
"Nah, not really. Drew and Jeff're leaving, and they're going to want some privacy, so I need to hang for a while, and those chicks," Bob pointed at a table of girls who appeared unacquainted with the art of shaving, "shot me down, and if I hang with those dudes," he indicated another table, "I'll end up paying for the pitcher, and having, like one glass. You may not like me, but you're fair."
That logic was kind of inescapable, and Blake wanted to have another beer anyway. He'd rather be drinking Cosmos, but not in this place. Since beer cost $4.25 and the pitcher that they'd get at least four glasses out of was $8.00, Bob definitely had math on his side.
"Sure," Blake said. "At least I can get drunk."