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part one


"Wow," Spencer says.

"Yeah," Brendon says. He's at Ryan and Spencer's on Sunday afternoon, telling them all about his awesome date with Jon the night (and morning) before. He might have exaggerated some or left some things out, but nothing that would change how completely awesome Brendon feels right now.

"I actually don't want to ruin this by mocking you." Ryan looks like he couldn't care less about ruining Brendon's awesome night.

"Yeah, right." Brendon is skeptical of Ryan's disinterest in mocking him.

"You're right," Ryan says. "Seriously, Brendon. You're, like, fucking dating a rockstar. This is hilarious."

"It is not. Anyway, Jon's not really a rockstar. He's just in a band that happens to be kind of well known. He's just a normal guy."

"That's not what you said two days ago," Spencer says.

"That's what I'm saying now." Brendon looks at them in challenge, silently daring them to question him.

"Awesome," Spencer says. "So when do we get to meet him?"

"He's going to LA for a week to do business stuff," Brendon says. "Then he's coming back to work for a while. I don't know."

"Well, his friends met you. It stands to reason that we should meet him, and soon," Spencer says.

"I'll ask him when he gets back to town," Brendon says. He kind of wants to keep Jon to himself for a while, but he doesn't think Spencer and Ryan will take no for an answer for very long.

"Whatever," Ryan says, like he doesn't care. Brendon knows that he does. "Did I tell you guys I have a date on Friday night?"

"Who is she this time?" Spencer asks, rolling his eyes.

"Mark," Ryan says. Brendon blinks and then looks over at Spencer, who is staring at Ryan open mouthed. "What? It's no big deal. Anyway, he's buying dinner."

"You," Spencer says, but he stops there. "You know what, do what you want." Spencer goes into the kitchen, leaving Brendon and Ryan alone.

"What's his problem?" Ryan says. Brendon rolls his eyes. Ryan can be a big idiot sometimes, and as much as both Brendon and Spencer love him, sometimes it's frustrating. Brendon sighs and follows Spencer.

"So, what's up?" Brendon says.

"I don't want to talk about it," Spencer says. He takes some pasta out of the cabinet and then some ingredients for sauce. The thing about Spencer is that sometimes he cooks when he's stressed or angry. As bad as Brendon feels about it, he kind of loves Spencer's cooking. Brendon's thinking about teasing him about it when Spencer slams a knife down on the counter. "He is so fucking frustrating."

"Well, yeah. He's Ryan. His middle name is Frustrating."

Spencer lets out a loud groan and falls into a chair at the table. Brendon's never understood why they have a kitchen table. No one uses it. "It's just--like, I thought--I mean, if he ever--it would be--"

"Spencer, you need to finish your sentences," Brendon says.

"I thought it would be me," Spencer says, quiet enough that Brendon's not sure he heard him right.

"Oh," Brendon says. "Wow."

"Don't, okay?" Spencer sighs a little and goes even quieter. "Just don't."

Brendon walks over and sits across from Spencer at the table. He's awkward at the best of times and he doesn't know what to say. It turns out not to be an issue because Ryan's saying, "How long?" from the doorway before either of them have the chance to break the silence.

Spencer doesn't say anything. He looks at Ryan with hurt and maybe a little bit of anger. "I said how long?" Ryan says, spitting out the words like they're something dirty. Spencer's face falls but he doesn't answer.

The door slams before Brendon has a chance to stop Ryan from leaving.

+

airprts r boring

Brendon laughs, looking at the display on his phone. It's Monday morning, and it's seven a.m., and he just got woken up by his phone beeping, but somehow he doesn't really care. Because Jon is texting him from the airport. Jon has lots of friends he could be texting, and he chose Brendon.

what time do u take off?

Brendon rolls out of bed and starts shuffling around for clothes. His roommate is still asleep, and Brendon's almost willing to wake his ass up, as he was on the computer until four a.m. playing stupid RPGs or whatever, and Brendon was cranky enough when he got in from dealing with Ryan and Spencer's shit. He's thoughtful though, so he makes a minimal amount of noise.

abt 15 mins wish i wsnt going

Brendon isn't sure if Jon wishes he could stay and hang out with Brendon or wishes he didn't have to go to a week of meetings. He doesn't want to seem too hopeful, so he doesn't respond. He grabs his phone and heads out of the dorm. He doesn't have class for another hour, but Ryan should be getting to his creative writing class in the next ten minutes. He hadn't come home the night before, and Spencer is probably still worried and angry. That makes Brendon worried and angry.

His phone beeps again. He looks at the text from Jon and smiles. bden? oh well boarding now. ttyl? :) Brendon sends back a quick yeah and heads to cut Ryan off before he can get into his class.

He can tell that when Ryan sees him he almost turns off and heads the other direction. He seems to change his mind at the very last second and sighs. "Hey."

"You really fucked up last night," Brendon says. It's probably harsh, but Ryan needs to hear it. "He's fucking scared. You didn't go home."

"He's not my mother," Ryan snaps. "And he's definitely not my boyfriend."

"Oh, shut the fuck up, Ryan. He may not be your boyfriend, but he's your best friend, and you're being an asshole."

"Just because some big shot rockstar wants to make you their Chicago fuck doesn't give you the right to dispense out advice," Ryan says.

"Fuck you, Ryan. We're not talking about me," Brendon says. That's not what he is, and he knows it. He knows.

"If Spencer wants to talk to me, he can call me. Otherwise, I don't really have anything to say," Ryan says.

"You know that's a lie. You wouldn't be acting like such a dickhead if you didn't give a shit. Go talk to him," Brendon says. Ryan's either going to listen or he's not, and Brendon can't make him do anything. He leaves Ryan standing in the door to his classroom.

+

Brendon's sick of studying. He's got the room to himself, and he really just wants to watch a movie or something, but he's studying for this stupid Algebra midterm, and he wants to burn the book. Spencer had texted to tell him that Ryan had come home about half an hour ago, and Brendon figures it's probably not the best time to go over. Someone's bound to throw something, and Brendon doesn't want to get caught in the crossfire.

He's contemplating throwing the book on the floor and pouring water over it when his phone rings. He expects it to be Spencer, but it's Jon. "Hello?"

"Hey, Brendon," Jon says. "So, I was sitting here and just really really needed to listen to you talk."

Brendon laughs. Jon's kind of ridiculous. "That's kind of weird, Jon. We've been on one date."

"But it was a really amazing date," Jon says. Brendon smiles. There's a slight pause before Jon continues. "Anyway, if you're busy, I can let you go. I was just kind of bored."

"No," Brendon says. "I'm good, just trying to study for this stupid midterm." Jon laughs quietly on the other end of the line. "How's LA?"

"It's LA. We're all at Pete's. Nick and Tom are arguing over who gets the biggest bedroom." Jon sighs. "I kind of want to go home."

"It's only a week," Brendon says. He doesn't know what Jon is doing in LA, not exactly, but he doesn't really want to intrude either. It's not like Jon is really his boyfriend, and nothing to do with Jon is really his business.

"It's just like, I love making music and recording and touring, but I fucking hate this part. I knew what I was signing up for when we signed the contracts, but I sort of wish I could tour and play without having to deal with managers and record companies, you know?" Jon sighs.

"I don't really," Brendon says, laughing quietly. "But you can tell me, or whatever. I mean, I'm listening."

"I don't know," Jon says. "Basically what I just said." He laughs quietly. "God, I wish I was in Chicago right now. I could be distracting you from studying by making out with you. That would be a lot more fun than unloading all of my whining on you."

"I don't mind," Brendon says. "Anyway, it's more fun than Algebra, at least." Jon laughs, and Brendon loves the knowledge that he made that happen.

"Thanks, Brendon." Someone yells in the background. "Fuck. Nick and Tom are trying to kill each other or something. I should probably go play ring leader."

"Yeah, okay," Brendon says.

"Hey, I'll call you later, alright?" Jon asks. Brendon nods, and before he realizes that Jon can't actually see him, the line's gone dead.

+

Jon doesn't call later. Jon doesn't call again for the whole week. Brendon doesn't hear from Ryan or Spencer either, but he's so busy studying and practicing in the music building that he doesn't really notice until Friday after his Algebra midterm when he realizes that he's been cut off from everyone.

He sends Spencer a quick text to ask if they're hanging out tonight, but Spencer doesn't reply back right away, so Brendon takes it as a no. He thinks about texting Jon, but he doesn't know when Jon's getting back. He'd never said.

He decides to walk to Starbucks instead of going back to his dorm. Friday nights are hardcore RPG nights, and Brendon doesn't want to be around for that. He goes straight to a table in the back and pulls out his composition book. He's halfway through working on a song for his Music Composition class. It's slow going, but it's not terrible.

He's scratching out half of the second verse when his phone rings. He doesn't look at the display before he answers it. "Brendon speaking."

"I love that you answer your phone like that," Jon says.

"Hey." Brendon smiles into his phone. "What's up?"

"I'm in a cab on my way home from the airport and thought maybe you'd want to hang out tonight. Unless you've got plans, I mean."

"Nah," Brendon says. "I'm at Starbucks working on music. You should meet me here."

"Yeah, okay." Brendon might be imagining it, but he thinks that he can hear Jon's smile. "The same one, right?"

"Yeah," Brendon says, smiling wider. "The same one."

Jon hangs up and less than half an hour later, he's sitting across from Brendon. "Is that your music?" Jon asks.

Brendon nods. "Yeah, sort of. I don't really know what it is yet," he says, shrugging.

"Can I see?"

"Uhm, I guess?" Brendon says. Not even Spencer and Ryan have seen, but Jon does this for a living, and the worst that could happen is that Jon laughs him out of Starbucks because they're so awful. Brendon slides the notebook across the table so that Jon can look at the page. It's just a scribbling of words right now. There are things crossed out and written over and circled if he really likes them. It's nonsense.

"Shit, Brendon," Jon says.


"That bad, huh?" Brendon shrugs. "It's not where I want it yet."

"No, it's not--" Jon shakes his head, sliding the notebook back over to Brendon. "Those are good, seriously."

"You think so?" Brendon can't really believe that someone whose music he loves, someone that he's into is telling him that his lyrics are good.

"Definitely."

Brendon tries not to smile. He puts the notebook away and looks at Jon. "So, what are we doing?"

"I don't know. Do you have plans at all?"

"Well, Ryan and Spencer are both ignoring me, so no," he says. "I'm all yours. I mean--like, we can hang out, or whatever."

Jon laughs quietly. "Come on, let's get out of here." Brendon follows him out of the coffee shop and onto the sidewalk. "Do you want to see my place?"

"Uh, sure, okay." Brendon's not sure what it means to be invited back to a rockstar's place, even if it's one that you're possibly dating. He's pretty sure that whatever it is, he really doesn't mind.

Jon's place isn't really far. They walk there, and he tells Brendon about LA and how ridiculous Pete is. Jon tells him about all the stupid fights Tom and Nick got into and how he really just wanted to come home the entire time. They get to his building, and it's not really as nice as Brendon expects. The outside is dingy and run down.

The inside is different. Jon's apartment is huge with big windows in the living room so there must be a lot of natural light during the day. "So, this is my place. Usually there are cats, but Cass watches them when I'm out of town."

"This is an awesome place," Brendon says.

"Yeah, well, I'm not actually here much, but it does the job okay." Jon shrugs. "Make yourself at home."

Brendon sits on the end of the sofa--the really comfortable sofa. He leans his head back and closes his eyes and relaxes. He could live on this sofa. It's a lot softer than the bed that was provided to him by the school.

"Oh, now that's just not fair," Jon says. Brendon looks up and Jon is holding out a beer for him. "You shouldn't sit around my house looking like that. I can't make out with you all the time."

Brendon laughs. "I don't know, I probably wouldn't complain." It surprises him how easy it is to be around Jon now that Brendon knows more about him. More than just birthdays and band histories and random facts that anyone can find on the internet.

"Oh? Is that a hint?" Jon asks, raising an eyebrow.

"Maybe," Brendon says. He takes Jon's wrist and pulls him down onto the sofa. "So, I kind of need to do this right now." Brendon leans in so he can kiss Jon. It's soft at first, soft and dry and not much more than a press of lips. Jon pulls back, pressing his forehead against Brendon's and licking his lips before closing the distance between them again.

Jon's hands settle at the small of Brendon's back. Brendon doesn't feel like he's quite as close to Jon as he wants to be so he pulls away just enough so that he can lie back flat on the sofa and pull Jon on top of him. "Much better," Brendon mumbles, kissing Jon again. Jon hums softly; Brendon feels it on his lips and it sends a little shock through his whole body. It's still not enough. Their legs are tangled together and they're touching everywhere, from hip to shoulder, but there are too many clothes and it's too hot.

Brendon wants more.

"Jon, Jon," he whispers against Jon's mouth. It's like Jon knows because he runs his hands up Brendon's sides, underneath his shirt, pulling Brendon up far enough that he can get Brendon's shirt up over his head. Having his shirt off is so much better, except now Jon's still wearing a shirt. Brendon thinks clothes are stupid, and Jon must agree because his shirt is suddenly gone too. He lies back on top of Brendon, skin to skin and it feels so, so good.

Jon kisses Brendon again, a soft press of lips to the corner of Brendon's mouth. He kisses down Brendon's jawline, and Brendon can feel Jon's breath warm on his cheek. Jon drags his lips down Brendon's throat, leaving a trail of warm, open-mouthed kisses as he moves down to Brendon's collarbone. Brendon feels like his skin is burning up every where Jon's mouth touches, like Jon is branding him with lips and teeth and tongue.

Jon moves to Brendon's chest, sucking lightly on Brendon's nipple. Brendon arches his chest and makes an embarrassingly needy noise in the back of his throat. Jon smiles against Brendon's skin.

"I've wanted this for so long," he says.

Brendon makes another noise, higher and more frantic than the one before. It's crazy what Jon's words do to him. His whole body feels strung tight, pulled and stretched and begging for some kind of relief.

Jon scoots up, straddling Brendon's hips. He kisses Brendon's mouth again softly. It's not nearly enough, and Brendon tangles his fingers in Jon's hair and pulls him closer, moaning when Jon finally gives him more.

Brendon's hard now, and he knows Jon can tell. Jon rolls his hips once slowly before he works Brendon's pants open. All Brendon can think about is Jon's mouth and how good it felt on his neck and chest. He want's Jon's mouth everywhere, anywhere he can get it. Brendon lifts his hips up so Jon can get his pants down, and Jon makes quick work of them, tossing Brendon's jeans and underwear on to the floor.

Brendon doesn't think it's very fair for either of them that he's naked and Jon's still wearing pants. He starts fumbling with the button of Jon's jeans, his fingers dragging clumsily along Jon's zipper until Jon hisses and bats his hands away. Jon rolls off the couch, undoing his pants as he goes. He kicks out of them and straddles Brendon again.

Jon's skin feels hotter than Brendon expected it to. It makes Brendon want to reach out and touch him everywhere. He slides his palms down Jon's sides to his hips and smiles to himself when Jon shivers under his hands.

Jon stretches back out over Brendon, covering Brendon's entire body with his own. "Want you," Jon whispers into Brendon's ear. Jon rolls his hips against Brendon's, creating friction against Brendon's cock that has Brendon's eyes rolling back in his head.

"Fuck," Brendon says.

He feels everything, Jon's hand in his hair, Jon's chest pressed against his own, Jon's legs entangled with his as Jon grinds down against him. Jon gives his hips one more slow roll before he reaches between their bodies and takes both of their cocks in his hand.

Brendon bites his bottom lip hard and tries to keep himself from moaning pathetically. Jon's hand is creating the perfect amount of pressure, their cocks rubbing against each other through the circle of Jon's fist, and Brendon is suddenly scared he's going to come embarrassingly fast.

Jon continues thrusting in rhythm with his hand, creating more friction. He keeps mouthing at Brendon's neck, his tongue flicking out to lick at the sweat Brendon knows is gathering there. It's so hot, being this close, having Jon want him this much, and Brendon doesn't know how much longer he's going to last.

Brendon thrusts his hand between them, and bumps Jon's hand, their fingers tangling together awkwardly until they straighten them out. Brendon wants to help get Jon off, but he also just wants to touch Jon anywhere he can. He follows Jon's lead. Jon tucks his head into the crook of Brendon's neck. His breath his steady but heavy, and it's warm on Brendon's skin. Everything is so hot, and too much but not enough at the same time.

"Jon, Jon," he whispers, gripping at Jon's shoulder with his other hand. Jon moans something that sounds like Brendon's name but it stops dead in Brendon's skin. Jon bites down on Brendon's shoulder, not enough to break the skin, but enough to cause Brendon to groan in pain and pleasure at the same time.

Brendon can feel himself getting close, tries to hang on a little bit longer, but he moans out Jon's name, loudly, too loudly and then everything goes dark for a moment and Jon keeps stroking him all the way through it. He's breathing heavy and his whole body feels limp, but he still feels like he could run a mile. Jon thrusts into Brendon's hand, and Brendon remembers what he was doing.

He tightens his grip on Jon's cock, creating a new rhythm, faster, and Jon presses his forehead to Brendon's and closes his eyes. It's not much longer before he's coming, and falling limply on top of Brendon.

Jon fits against Brendon's body in this weird way where it doesn't seem like he would. He's bulkier and roughly the same height, and it just feels right, to have him lying there, head on Brendon's shoulder, hand between their bodies, running his thumb across Brendon's hip in a steady motion. Brendon wants this all the time

"We're gross," Jon mumbles. Brendon can feel him smiling. "I'm going to have to get the sofa steam cleaned."

"You should do something about that," Brendon says, laughing. "I can't. You're on top of me."

Jon laughs and rolls off the couch. He disappears into the hallway and comes back a couple of minutes later with a wet washcloth and wipes at Brendon's stomach and thighs. "Mm, do that again," Brendon says. Jon laughs, tossing the now dirty rag into the floor. "That's gross. You should go put it in the hamper or something."

Jon settles on top of Brendon and closes his eyes. "Later," he says. "I'm really comfortable." There's a brief pause before he says, "We're totally doing this again."

"Mm," Brendon says. "Yeah. Definitely."

"Brendon?" Brendon can tell that Jon's on his way to falling asleep like this. He hms in response and waits for Jon's answer. Jon mumbles something that Brendon can't make out. He thinks he makes out the words LA and you somewhere, but he can't be sure.

+

It can't be more than a few hours later when Brendon wakes up. It's dark now, and Brendon's alone, but there's a blanket on top of him. He wraps himself in the blanket and goes to find Jon. Jon has his headphones on and is singing along to The Beach Boys. Brendon leans on the door frame and smiles, watching him.

Jon turns around to get something from the cabinet and jumps when he sees Brendon standing in the doorway. "Hey," he says, pulling his headphones out.

"You can keep going, I was enjoying the show." Brendon winks, and Jon walks over and wraps his arms around him. "Mm, this is good, too."

"Yeah, I thought it might be." Jon laughs quietly and lets go. "It's like nine, but I thought, well, I haven't eaten since that shitty food on the plane, and I don't know if you're hungry, but I'm starving, so, I'm making dinner.”

"You cook, too?"

"Not really. How do you feel about macaroni?" Jon holds up a box and shakes it.

"I love it," Brendon says, grinning.

"Good because my cooking skills are pretty much non-existent." Brendon walks into the kitchen and jumps up onto the counter, sitting in an empty spot by the sink and kicking his feet while he watches Jon make dinner.

It's weirdly domestic, considering Brendon isn't even really sure what they are right now. This could be a kiss off dinner for all he knows. He doesn't think it is, though, and Jon certainly doesn't seem like he's getting ready to give Brendon the brush off.

"Sorry, I'm going to be kind of a shitty boyfriend," Jon says. "I'm hardly ever in town, I can't cook, and I'll probably forget your birthday."

"Did you just say you were going to be a shitty boyfriend?" Brendon asks. He tries to hold back his smile.

"Yeah, sorry." Jon's stirring the noodles with the butter, pouring in the powdered cheese. Brendon thinks he could get used to being like this.

"No, I just mean, is that what this is?" Brendon isn't cold, but he wraps the blanket tighter around himself anyway. "Are you, like, my boyfriend?"

Jon puts the spoon down and looks at Brendon. "That's what I thought. Unless--I mean, unless that's not what you want."

"No." Brendon laughs. "No, that's definitely what I want."

"Good," Jon says, smiling. He turns back to the stove. "Oh, hey, dinner's ready."

Brendon could definitely get used to this.

+

Jon's bed, as it turns out, is even more comfortable than his sofa. The bed is big enough for two people to spread out and have as much room as they need, but Brendon has opted to get as close to Jon as possible. They're lying together, making out, touching, but mostly just existing in each other's space. The closeness is nice, and Brendon really wants the chance to get used to it.

"Yeah, I guess we're going to lock ourselves together in an abandoned building all day or something and see what happens," Jon says. "I don't know. It's not that I'm worried about us. We'll always be friends. I'm just afraid we can't do this, even if everyone expects us to."

Brendon wants to tell Jon it's going to be fine, but he doesn't really know if would even be reassuring coming from him. He doesn't know anything about the music industry. He knows that 504 is good, and he knows that Jon's an awesome songwriter, but maybe that's not enough.

"Sorry," Jon says. "I worry about this shit too much. It's just so much pressure, you know."

"Oh, trust me, I understand pressure," Brendon says. He pauses and then says, "Okay, here's the thing, I don't actually know you very well yet, and I definitely don't know a lot about music as an industry, but you guys are good. If it's going to happen, it will, and if it's not, you'll do something else."

Jon looks at Brendon for a second and then leans in and kisses him. "You're amazing," he whispers.

"Yeah, well, I do my best." Brendon grins, and Jon laughs.

"You're still not doing anything for spring break?" Jon asks. Brendon just shakes his head. "Why aren't you going home, at least? Get away from this place for a while.”

"Nah," Brendon says. "There's nothing to do there either."

"You didn't go home for the holidays either," Jon says. Brendon thinks this conversation is probably going to a place where he doesn't really want to go. He can't really change the subject now though, after Jon's unloaded all of his career doubts on Brendon.

"No, I didn't."

"Why not?"

"It's complicated," Brendon says. Jon doesn't push, and somehow that only makes it worse. "My parents didn't want me coming to Chicago, and they definitely didn't want me coming to Chicago on a music scholarship. We sort of haven't spoken in almost a year."

"Wow," Jon says.

"Yeah, I don't know. It's stupid, I guess. I could have gone where they wanted and taken some music classes there, majored in something else, but..."

"This is what you wanted," Jon says.

"Yeah. Anyway, I love Chicago. And I met Ryan and Spencer here, so I wouldn't change things." Brendon also met Jon here. "I still kind of hope they come around some day though, you know?"

"Of course you do," Jon says. He wraps an arm around Brendon's waist, pulling him even closer. "It's late." Brendon appreciates the change in subject.

+

Brendon finally hears from Spencer the Thursday before spring break starts. He tells Brendon that he and Ryan have talked and that they're fine, but it's kind of weird. And that they've decided to go home for spring break. Brendon's kind of annoyed that now he has to spend that alone too, but knowing Jon will be around makes it a little better.

The only problem is that once spring break comes around, Jon's really busy, day and night. He's writing with Nick and Tom sixteen hours a day, and he doesn't really have time for Brendon to be hanging around. Brendon's starting to see what Jon meant about being a shitty boyfriend.

It's not that Jon does it on purpose or anything, and Brendon gets that he's working, but it kind of sucks that they've only been dating for a couple of weeks and the newness is already wearing off. He doesn't want to be that kind of person though, and it's not like he doesn't realize how easily Jon could drop him for someone else, so he doesn't mention it.

He mostly spends the time hanging out on campus. There aren't a lot of people around, so the practice rooms are always empty, and Brendon ends up spending a lot of time there. He texts Ryan and Spencer a few times, but they're both busy at home.

On Wednesday, Jon finally calls him. It's almost nine at night, and Brendon's so bored he's actually thinking about working on his history research paper that's due the week before finals. His phone rings and he answers it on the first ring, not even looking at the display.

"Yo," Brendon says.

"Hey," Jon says. "So, I was wondering if you're busy."

"Oh, totally. I've got, like, five parties lined up, and then there was this girl, I was going to hook up with her at around eleven," Brendon says, completely seriously. "Why? Did you need something?"

"Asshole," Jon says, fondly. "Wanna come over?"

"Well, I guess if I move things around--" Brendon hears Jon groan on the other end. He laughs and says, "Yeah, I'll come over. Give me twenty minutes."

Brendon waits a few minutes to leave, just because he feels like he should make Jon wait as long as possible. It's petty, but it makes a lot of sense in his head. When he gets to Jon's, Jon answers the door in sweatpants, with his hair falling into his eyes. He looks tired, and he smiles at Brendon and motions him in.

"Glad you could find time in your busy schedule," Jon says.

"Well, I had to reschedule my date with Candi, and she says that you have to be there now that you've ruined it for us. So, next Saturday, naked laser tag, you in?"

"Naked laser tag?" Jon says, raising an eyebrow. "Well, I'm curious."

"Awesome, I'll call Candi," Brendon says. Jon starts laughing first, and then Brendon follows.

Jon pulls Brendon over to the sofa by his wrist, lying down and pulling Brendon down on top of him. "It has been the longest week ever."

"Anything I can do?" Brendon says, kissing Jon quickly on the lips. "I hear I'm pretty good at relieving tension." He wiggles his eyebrows dramatically.

"Mm, this is better. Just don't ask me if I really think that bassline works with that drum beat. I really don't give a fuck right now."

"I guess it's not going well?" Brendon asks.

"Not bad." Jon closes his eyes, sighing. "Can we not talk about it?"

Brendon nods. "Yeah." He thinks maybe Jon needs to talk about it, but he can't really say anything about someone avoiding their problems. He's avoiding enough problems for everyone he knows and then some. So he just settles into Jon, wrapping his arms around him and pressing his face into the crook of Jon's neck.

"So much better," Jon mumbles into Brendon's hair. "Thanks for coming."

"Not like I had anything better to do," Brendon says.

"What about Candi?" Brendon feels Jon smile.

"Eh, I like you better," Brendon says. "Don't tell her that, though. She might break our date."

Jon laughs quietly and turns his head so that he's facing Brendon. It's an awkward position at best, but Jon kisses the corner of Brendon's mouth and closes his eyes. "Sorry I haven't been around. I really suck at this whole dating thing."

"You're not that bad," Brendon says. Jon kind of is that bad, but Brendon's not thinking about that now that he's lying here with Jon, comfortable and close on the sofa. Jon makes a soft sound of disagreement, but he drops the subject. "Wanna hang out tomorrow?" Brendon asks. He knows it's not likely, but he wants to ask anyway.

"Can't," Jon says. "I have to meet Tom and Nick early."

"Yeah, I thought you probably would be," Brendon says. He tries not to sound as disappointed as he really is. "I just thought, you know, I'd ask. I'm just bored." Brendon laughs quietly. "There's not a lot to do around campus when everyone's off in Mexico or Florida or other warm, beach locations getting drunk, instead of in frat houses getting drunk."

"Where are Ryan and Spencer?"

"Vegas. I don't know, they're having issues, and I don't really know what's going on with them." Brendon is going to have to corner Spencer and talk to him when he gets back to Chicago. They're his best friends, and he figures that it sort of sucks that he has no clue if they're even really speaking to each other. He doesn't really blame them for wanting to deal with their shit alone, but it sucks nonetheless.

"Maybe you can come hang out tomorrow night," Jon says. "We're going to try and get some actual work done and then Sean's band is playing again, some party somewhere."

A party doesn't sound so bad. "Cool," Brendon says.

"Awesome," Jon says. "You can hang here tomorrow, if you want, make yourself at home. I guess it's not much better than being bored at the dorms, but at least Dylan and Clover are here?" Jon laughs, and Brendon feels it all over.

"I might take you up on that," Brendon says. They're quiet for a few minutes and then Brendon says, "How's it going, by the way?"

"I said I don't want to talk about it," Jon says. It's not mean, but it's forceful and Brendon frowns.

"I didn't mean that. I meant how are you? You look like you haven't slept in a week."

"Sorry," Jon mumbles. "I've gotten a little bit of sleep. Probably not enough."

Brendon pushes himself up and takes Jon's hand. "Come on."

"Where are we going?"

"You're going to bed to get actual sleep, or I'm leaving." Brendon tugs Jon until he stands and then pushes him into the bedroom.

"It's early," Jon says. He's whiny, and it might be cute if it weren't annoying. "We're hanging out."

"No, you're sleeping. I'll be here in the morning before you leave, and we'll hang out tomorrow. You're exhausted."

Jon groans but gets underneath the blankets anyway. Brendon climbs over him to the other side of the bed and lies down. Dylan glares at him from his spot on the edge of the bed. Brendon gets the feeling that Dylan doesn't like him very much, but Jon says he's just being paranoid. He's not imagining that Dylan gives him an angry look before jumping off the bed and prancing out of the room, though. He knows he's not.

"I'm really not that tired," Jon mumbles, but he's already half asleep and Brendon can tell. Brendon just laughs quietly, wrapping an arm around Jon's middle. Jon hms quietly. Brendon's not tired at all, but he doesn't go anywhere.

+

"Fuck!" Jon jolts up, waking Brendon. "Shit, fuck." There's sunlight pouring in from outside, and somewhere a phone is ringing. "Fuck, why didn't I set an alarm?"

Brendon looks at the clock on Jon's bedside table; It's nearly two already. Jon flips through his closet pulling out the first shirt and jeans that he finds. He finds his phone and answers, spitting out a hurried apology and saying that he'll be there as quick as he can.

"Fuck, sorry, Bren, I have to go. I'm already an hour late," Jon says. He's rushing. "I shouldn't have slept so long. Fuck." Brendon bites back the urge to tell Jon that he slept that long because he obviously needed it. "I'll see you tonight." Jon doesn't wait for Brendon to respond before he rushes out of the room and Brendon hears the door slam closed.

Brendon lets his head fall back on the pillow. Clover jumps onto the bed and lays down on Jon's pillow, staring at Brendon. She tilts her head and then starts licking Brendon in the face. Her tongue is rough and it's kind of annoying. Brendon pets her anyway.

"You're probably hungry, huh?" Brendon says. Clover doesn't answer him, obviously, but she pulls back away from his face and stares at him. Clover likes him a lot more than Dylan does. "Come on," Brendon says, picking her up as he rolls off the bed. "Let's see what Jon has for you, okay?"

Brendon feels a little crazy talking to Jon's cat, but Jon had left before he could get a word out, and she's there. He goes through the kitchen and finds some cat food. He puts some in Dylan's bowl too, hoping that he'll come out and eat it when he's ready. Probably when he's sure that Brendon's gone.

Brendon sits on the sofa and flips through the channels for a while, but he's bored, and he's still in the clothes that he not only wore yesterday but also fell asleep wearing. He turns off the TV and heads out of the apartment. He needs to go home and change clothes, and he could really use a latte. He doesn't know how long Jon's going to be with Tom and Nick, and as much as he loves Jon's apartment, he doesn't really want to hang out there all day by himself.

He stops by the dorm, but not for longer than he needs to. He grabs his guitar and his bag before he heads out and then goes to one of the practice rooms. It's virtually empty; there's someone across the hall working on vocals, but there's no one in the piano room.

He settles on the bench, taking out his notebook and a pen, jotting some things down. The lyrics he's been working on are getting better, but they're no where near where he wants them. He taps out a beat on the paper with his pen and turns to the piano, playing a few quick bars and then scratching some notes out. Right now, the song is probably good enough to get a good grade, a great grade even, but it's still not where he wants it.

His phone buzzes in his pocket. He should probably at least check the display, but now that he's working, he doesn't really feel like talking to anyone. If it's Ryan or Spencer, they can wait a while. If it's Jon, they'll talk later. It's probably not anyone else.

He stays there for an hour or two (he loses track of time pretty quickly), before he decides he's gotten as much done as he's going to. He goes back to his dorm to drop his stuff off and then goes back out. He ends up just walking around for a while. It's late when his phone finally buzzes again, and he's somewhere on the other end of campus. He's probably circled the campus two and a half times, just burning energy.

He takes his phone out of his pocket and looks at the display; it's Spencer. He sighs and answers. "Hey."

"Hey, asshole, Ryan said you ignored his call earlier."

"I was in the practice room," Brendon says.

"Right, well, shouldn't you be having sex with your hot rockstar boyfriend or something?" Spencer asks. Brendon can hear Ryan laughing somewhere in the background, loud and filled with amusement.

"I guess you guys have stopped being jackasses to each other?" he says, avoiding the subject of Jon.

"Yeah, you could say that," Spencer says. There's a brief pause and then he adds, "We sort of made out. Kind of."

"How do you kind of make out with someone?"

"Okay, we made out a lot," Spencer says. "I guess we were both being stupid before."

"So are you guys dating now or something?" Brendon feels like he should be happy, but it's kind of weird, honestly. Spencer and Ryan have known each other forever, and Ryan's always been a jackass to the people he's dated. Spencer knows that better than anyone, and Brendon can't see it being that easy.

"I don't know," Spencer says. "It's complicated, you know?"

"Tell me about it," Brendon says.

"Something up with the hot rockstar?" Spencer says. Brendon hates that he can tell when Spencer's mocking him.

"His name is Jon, and I don't know... We're supposedly dating, but--oh, nevermind. I'm being stupid. Go make out with Ryan some more, maybe even have sex with him. Just don't fucking tell me about it."

Spencer laughs. Brendon rolls his eyes and hangs up the phone. He's at least glad that when they come back to Chicago they'll be on speaking terms again. Maybe he'll even see them. He starts heading back to his dorm when his phone buzzes again.

"I thought I told you to go fuck around with Ross," he says.

"What?"

"Oh, sorry, Jon. Hi," he says. "Sorry, I was just talking to Spencer, and, well-- nevermind. What's up?"

"You're gone," Jon says. "I kind of thought we were going to hang out when I got done tonight."

"Oh yeah, totally. Sorry, I had to get a change of clothes, and then I wanted to work a little bit on my song and then I ended up sort of wandering around campus for a while. We're still hanging out."

"Cool, meet me here in half an hour? We have to at least make an appearance at this party, but we can go grab something to eat first or something."

Brendon tells Jon he'll be there as soon as he can and hangs up. He takes his time getting to Jon's apartment.

+

They go to this little Thai place Jon knows before they head to the party. It's quiet and nearly empty, and Brendon really likes the atmosphere.

"I accidentally found this place a few months ago. I guess it's pretty new," Jon says, sliding into the small booth across from Brendon. "It's got awesome food, though."

It's not like the diner they went to on their first date. No one knows Jon's name, and no one bothers them. It's nice.

"So, I'm sorry this week sucked ass," Jon says. "I'm really shitty at balancing everything, and we're fucking ourselves over with this whole second album thing. We pretty much sit around arguing all day and then decide to fuck it."

"Maybe you guys need some time away from each other," Brendon says. It's stupid advice, and he regrets it the instant he says it. He can tell from the look on Jon's face that Jon thinks it's stupid too.

"I don't think you're wrong," Jon says. "I love Tom and Nick, but Jesus. I've spent every moment of my life with them for nearly the last two years, and before that it wasn't much better." Jon sighs. "It's touring, you know. It's touring and recording and being in a band that's sort of popular. I knew what I was signing up for, but fuck, it's still a lot."

Brendon frowns. He doesn't know what Jon's going through, and he can't pretend to. "You'll make it work," he says. It feels lame, but it's all that he can come up with.

Jon half smiles and pushes his empty plate away. "Yeah," he says. "I think I might just fuck off for a week, you know? Maybe in a few weeks if we get anything done. Maybe I'll drive out of state or just disappear."

"How would the record company feel about that?"

"Fuck the record company," Jon says. He sighs and then shrugs. "I guess I'll have to deal with it. I know that we're never going to get anything done if we're constantly at each other's throats though."

"Well, I get out of school mid-May," Brendon says. He doesn't know why he says it. He doesn't even know if this is going to last for a couple more months, but he says it, and he smiles.

"Oh really?" Jon says, smiling. "Well, maybe I'll just have to kidnap you. We can get the fuck out of Chicago for a while together."

"Maybe," Brendon says. He grins at Jon, and Jon grins back. Jon chooses that moment to reach across the table and take some noodles from Brendon's plate. He can't seem to care.

+

The party is kind of dull. It's a friend of a friend of Tom's, and not nearly enough people show up. When Jon and Brendon get there, they're already quickly running out of booze and Sean's band is crammed into a corner that barely holds their instruments.

Tom and Nick are glaring at Jon, alternating between just staring and hushed whispering. Cassie keeps rolling her eyes at them as she talks to Tom's girlfriend, Danielle. Jon sits down on a chair and pulls Brendon down to sit on the arm. Tom walks over to Danielle and says something about getting a beer and Cassie nods and walks over to Brendon and Jon.

"Hey guys," she says. "I see you decided to finally drag your asses to the 'party'." She uses sarcastic air quotes and everything. "I swear, I love Sean and the guys, but they can do so much better than this."

Jon laughs. "I think it was a favor. I'm not even sure they're getting paid."

"Of course they're not," Cassie says. "They need to start demanding payment in the form of actual money, rather than chips and cheap beer."

"I don't blame them," Jon says. "Fuck the money." Brendon thinks Jon probably doesn't really mean that, but he can't be sure.

Cassie frowns slightly. Jon just shrugs and lets his head fall back onto the back of the chair and closes his eyes. Brendon raises an eyebrow at Cassie. "Hey, Jon, I'm borrowing your boyfriend for a minute," Cassie says.

"Bring him back in one piece," Jon says, smirking slightly.

Cassie grabs Brendon's hand and drags him across the room into a corner. "Is he okay?"

Brendon shrugs. "I don't know. I think he's been fighting with Tom and Nick." Brendon doesn't know Jon well enough to gauge his moods yet. It really sucks because mostly all he wants to do is make Jon feel better.

Cassie shoots a look toward Tom and Danielle, who are huddled in the kitchen together, whispering. "They're having a hard time with this one, aren't they?"

"Kind of. I mean--I'm new, you know? I haven't been around for more than a few weeks. Was it like this before?"

"It was--" Cassie sighs. "No, it was easy, but they got signed and I don't think they expected the hugeness of it all. It's been an overwhelming couple of years, and they're under a lot of pressure."

"Do you think I'm making it worse?" It's not like Brendon doesn't realize that Jon having him to juggle on top of the band isn't making it harder. It's also not like Brendon can't tell that Tom doesn't really like him that much.

"No," Cassie says. "I mean--like you said, you're new, but he likes you. You guys'll find a balance, you know? It's hard." She smiles softly, maybe a little sadly. "We tried and couldn't make it work, but I don't know. He likes you. A lot."

"He doesn't know me that well."

"He will," Cassie says. "Anyway." She nods her head, gesturing behind him and says, "I'll let you guys talk or whatever."

Jon comes up behind Brendon, grabbing his wrist and spinning him around. He smiles like he's unsure it's the right thing to do. "So, was she gossiping about me?"

"Just asking about you," Brendon says. "This party sucks."

Jon laughs and takes Brendon's hand in his own. "Yeah, it kind of does. But hey, now you can officially say you've partied with rockstars?" Brendon laughs loudly, shaking his head.

"Come on, rockstar. Let's get the fuck out of here."

+

Brendon wakes up the next morning with Jon's legs tangled with his and Jon's arm thrown across his chest. The sun isn't quite up yet, but there's a little bit of light coming in through the window. Clover is perched up on the dresser, tilting her head at them. Brendon laughs quietly and closes his eyes. It's too early to be awake.

"You're awake," Jon whispers, laughing.

"Am not," Brendon says. "How can you tell?"

"Your breathing," Jon says. "It's not as loud when you're awake."

"Watching someone sleep is really creepy, Jon." Brendon rolls over onto his side and snuggles in closer to Jon.

"Shut up, jackass. I didn't want to get out of bed," Jon says. "I still don't. I sort of want to call Tom and tell him I'm sick, and fuck off and spend the day hanging out with you."

On one hand, Brendon thinks he shouldn't encourage Jon to fuck around when he's got work to do. On the other hand he's a selfish little fucker and would love to have Jon to himself for an entire day. "Mm, not complaining," Brendon says.

"Hold that thought," Jon says, rolling out of bed and walking out of the room. Brendon can sort of hear him coughing and putting on a fake stuffy nose as he talks to Tom. It's not very convincing, and Brendon laughs to himself. A few minutes later Jon comes back into the room, grins and says, "So, where were we?"

+

Brendon goes back to the dorm long enough on Friday to grab a couple of changes of clothes and a few other things he really needs. He brings his guitar too and says, "I'm just going to leave this here. I can't play it without my roommate throwing a fit anyway." Jon puts it in his practice room, and they don't really talk about it anymore.

"Are you going to Vegas for the summer?" Jon asks. They've spent nearly the entire afternoon into late evening in bed, and Brendon's kind of tired and hungry. Of course that means Jon's going to ask something like this.

"I guess," Brendon says. "I mean, I can't stay here, you know? Dorms close."

"You gonna stay with your parents?" Jon's pushing, and Brendon isn't sure that he likes it. Then again, Jon's probably told Brendon a lot of things that he doesn't talk to many people about.

"I guess I'd have to talk to them first," Brendon says. It comes out more snappish than he means for it to. "Sorry, just--it's been a while."

"I know," Jon says. "Well, you know, you should try, or whatever. Maybe they miss you."

"They haven't called me either," Brendon says. He really doesn't want Jon to push this. He wills Jon to figure that out and stop.

"Hey, I'm not accusing," Jon says. "I guess I just thought you might want to talk about it."

"Well, I don't." Brendon hopes Jon just stops now, that saying this will be enough to get Jon to never bring it up again.

"What happened between you and your parents?"

"I told you."

"You came here, and they didn't want you to," Jon says. It's obvious that he thinks there's more to it than that, and while he's sort of right, Brendon doesn't want to fucking talk about it. Especially not with someone that he's known for less than a month. It must be obvious that he tenses up because Jon says, "Sorry, I just--nevermind."

Brendon sighs. "Sorry, I just don't want to talk about it.”

"Yeah, that's cool." Jon kisses Brendon quickly and then pulls back and smiles. "Hey, I know this great Chinese place that delivers, what do you say?"

And just like that, the subject is changed.

+

Jon still has to go work with Tom and Nick on Saturday and Sunday, but he manages to get out of there before he's angry and frustrated. By Monday morning, Brendon really wishes that he didn't have to go back to school.

"Best weekend ever," he says. "Wish I didn't have an eight a.m. class."

"Skip it," Jon says. "I would skip it."

Brendon laughs. "Well, if I weren't on a scholarship and my history professor wasn't the devil in disguise, I might actually think that's an amazing idea, but I should go."

Jon groans as Brendon rolls out of bed. "But what am I going to do? I still have hours before I have to go to Tom's. Do you really want me to spend hours and hours alone? With nothing to do?"

"Sorry, rockstar. Gotta go to class," Brendon grins. He leans over and kisses Jon quickly and then throws his clothes on as he walks out the door. "See ya later!" he calls as he rushes out.

His classes are long and boring as expected; maybe even moreso than usual, after having a week off. He gets a text from Spencer to meet him for lunch. He goes to the cafeteria, and Spencer's already sitting at one of the tables.

"So, you'd better have a hell of an explanation," Brendon says, sitting across from him.

"I told him I was going home to Vegas and he insisted on following me," Spencer says, shrugging. "On Tuesday I broke down and told him that I was tired of watching him fuck up his romantic life because, basically, I've been in love with him since we were, like, kids or whatever."

"Shit."

"Yeah." Spencer takes a bite of his apple and shrugs.

"What did he say?"

"He kissed me," Spencer says. "Shit, Brendon, if I'd known it was going to be that easy, I would have said something sooner."

"So, is it really that easy? I mean, it's still Ryan we're talking about."

"I know," Spencer says. "Yeah, I don't know. We're taking it a step at a time. Anyway, what about you? Is it still complicated with Jon?"

"I don't know. I spent all weekend at his place," Brendon says. "We're, I don't know. It's going, you know?"

"Well, that's good," Spencer says. "It's been almost a month and we haven't met this guy. What the fuck is up with that?"

"Well, you've been off having all of your best friends turned lovers drama. You can meet him any time."

"Oh really? Tomorrow night then?" Spencer says, casually.

"Really? That soon?"

"You said any time." Spencer shrugs.

"Yeah, okay. Well, he's busy, you know. But I'll ask him if he can do it tomorrow night."

"You do that," Spencer says. "Shit, I have to get back to work. Tomorrow night," Spencer says, standing. He waves as he walks away.

Brendon sighs, pulling out his phone and sending a quick text to Jon asking about tomorrow night, and then heads out of the cafeteria.

+

Ryan and Spencer basically act the same as they always did, except Ryan doesn't mention any new girlfriends and Spencer doesn't glance over at him all the time.

"What time is Jon getting here?" Ryan asks.

"Don't know. He had work stuff," Brendon says. "After."

"Who would have thought that being a rockstar was so demanding? Aren't they on break or whatever?" Spencer asks.

"No, they're not touring, but they're trying to work on their second album," Brendon says. "It's not going as well as they hoped, I think. Just...don't ask him about it." Brendon doesn't want Jon to end up leaving because he's upset or pissed off or whatever.

"Noted," Spencer says.

Brendon asks a lot of questions about their time in Vegas, most of them going unanswered or answered as vaguely as possible, and tells them about his spring break, leaving out the part where he spent half of it pathetically alone. Jon texts Brendon half an hour later and says that he'll be there in about five minutes.

And just like that Brendon is really nervous. He wasn't this nervous when he met Jon's friends, but he's not sure if that's because meeting Jon's friends was an unexpected surprise. He's a little worried that Spencer and Ryan are going to hate Jon. Or that they're going to love him and spend hours telling him how lame Brendon was about him before they even met.

The latter is probably the most likely scenario.

Brendon insists on letting Jon in when he gets the apartment. He jumps up from the couch and opens the door, giving Jon a quick kiss hello. When he turns from the door, Spencer and Ryan are pretending to look away. Brendon drags Jon into the apartment and pulls him down on the couch next to him.

"Jon, this is Ryan and Spencer. Ryan and Spencer, this is Jon." Brendon grins and says, "There, now you've all met. We can go now, right?"

"No," Spencer says. "You're not getting off that easy. We've waited too long." Brendon sends Spencer a look that says be nice. He hopes that Spencer can read it, but he's not so sure.

"So, Jon," Ryan says. "Brendon is a huge fan." Brendon is going to kill Ryan in his sleep. He can think of a few really elaborate and painful ways, too. One of them involves Wannabe by the Spice Girls.

"So I've heard," Jon says. He looks at Brendon out of the corner of his eye and smiles, putting a comforting hand on Brendon's leg. It doesn't help.

"Do you date a lot of fans?" Spencer asks. He looks amused, but Brendon wouldn't put it past him if this were a test.

"I don't date a lot, really. No time for it," Jon says. "My last serious relationship was with my high school girlfriend." He laughs quietly.

"And this is serious?" Ryan looks like he's on the verge of laughter, and Brendon wants to tell him to shut up. He doesn't, though.

Jon shrugs slightly and looks over at Brendon, smiling. It's enough for Brendon. "Anyway," Brendon says. "We're not interrogating Jon tonight. We're hanging out."

"It's fine," Jon says. He smiles at Ryan and Spencer. "But I think it's fair if I ask you guys some questions, too." Brendon laughs under his breath and relaxes a little.

"Well, I guess," Ryan says.

"Cool. I know Brendon's a music major. What are you guys studying?"

"I'm an english major," Ryan says. "Did you even go to college?"

"For a semester. We were still kind of just fucking around in my parents' basement then. Then we got signed and I dropped out. It wasn't really for me, anyway."

"What was your major?" Spencer asks. It sounds harmless enough, just like old friends catching up. Brendon's not convinced it isn't a trap.

"Film," Jon says. "If I weren't a musician I'd be a photographer or a cameraman somewhere."

"You're into photography?" Ryan asks. They haven't talked about it, but Brendon's seen some Jon's stuff from before. His pictures are easy enough to find, for anyone who knows the band and at least googled them.

""I used to," Jon says. "There's not a lot of time for it anymore, you know?"

"Brendon wants to be a rockstar," Spencer says, grinning. On one hand, at least they're not picking on Jon. On the other hand, they're picking on Brendon.

"I do not," Brendon says. "I just want to make music."

"I've seen some of his lyrics. They're not bad," Jon says.

"He showed you his lyrics?" Ryan asks.

"Brendon doesn't show anyone his lyrics," Spencer says. "He thinks they're crap."

"It's not a big deal," Brendon mumbles. Spencer looks at him for a second but shrugs and turns his attention back to Jon. "I'm hungry," Brendon says. He doesn't want to talk about himself anymore.

"I should go check on the pasta. Ryan, you should come with me," Spencer says, but it's not really a suggestion. Ryan looks like he's going to argue for a second but ultimately just sighs and follows Spencer into the kitchen.

Jon leans into Brendon. "You really don't show anyone your stuff?" he asks.

Brendon shrugs. "It's not a big deal." He knows he's already said that, but he wants to stress it. It's not a big deal. "I wanted to show you."

Jon smiles and moves closer, kissing Brendon. Brendon leans into the kiss, wrapping his hand around the back of Jon's neck, just barely touching the tips of his hair. Jon presses Brendon back into the couch. It's old and there's hard lump sticking into Brendon's back, but Brendon can't seem to care.

Someone clears their throat on the other side of the room. Jon pulls away and at least has enough shame to look down at his hands while he laughs. Brendon just laughs. "Sorry."

"You should be. We can't afford a new couch," Spencer says, smirking. "Now, are you assholes going to come eat, or what?"

+

"So, I think I'm going to have a party," Jon says. It's late on a Thursday night, and Brendon and Jon are lying in bed. They're half asleep already, both on their backs looking up at the ceiling. "You know, invite my friends and your friends. It could be fun."

"My friends are Ryan and Spencer," Brendon says.

Jon laughs quietly. "Okay, but still. They're invited to my party."

"When are you having this party?"

"I was thinking a couple of weeks from now, second weekend of April, maybe?" Jon says. "I don't know, sometime around the twelfth or something."

"Who told you my birthday?"

"Oh, that's your birthday?" Jon asks, nonchalantly. "I had no idea."

"Sure you didn't," Brendon says. "You want to throw me a birthday party?"

"I want to throw a party. That just so happens to occur around the date of your birth. You can call it whatever you want," Jon says, smiling. "I figured that unless you were doing something with Ryan and Spencer, you probably didn't have plans. And then I asked Spencer at lunch yesterd--"

"You went to lunch with Spencer yesterday?" Brendon asks. Jon hadn't told him that he wasn't going to be working yesterday afternoon. Not that he should always tell Brendon everything.

"Yes," Jon says, not giving more of an explanation. "Anyway, he said there were no plans, so--party."

"Your friends don't like me," Brendon says.


"Cassie loves you." Jon rolls over onto his side and throws an arm around Brendon's middle. "Tom and Nick don't know you."

"Tom definitely doesn't like me. He gives me the stink eye every time I see him and then he starts whispering with Nick or finds an excuse to leave the room. That is definitely a sign of dislike."

Jon sighs quietly. "Okay, here's the thing. Tom is fucking protective for some lame ass reason, and he's worried that you're some fan that's tricked me into dating you. I told him that's bullshit, seeing as how I went after you and everything, but he's stubborn. It's not that he hates you, it's just--"

"He thinks I'm a psycho. Great," Brendon says. It's not that he hadn't already figured that out, but it's a lot different to hear Jon say it. He'd stopped by the warehouse they've been working in after class the other day to bring Jon some coffee and Tom had glared at him the entire time. He just sort of wishes it were all in his head.

"He doesn't think that," Jon says, frowning. "And if he did, he'd be wrong."

"Well,I know that," Brendon says. "I'm kind of lame and sometimes I'm an asshole, but I'm not a psycho."

Jon laughs quietly, pressing closer to Brendon. "He'll come around," Jon whispers, pressing a kiss to Brendon's temple. "And if he doesn't, then fuck him."

Brendon's not sure it's that easy.

"Now, about this party," Jon says. "The one for your birthday."

Brendon laughs quietly. "Okay. I guess we can have a party."

part three
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