By: S.C. Stephens

Denny seemed to understand what I was talking about and looked down for a second, a little embarrassed. "It's nothing. I don't know why he makes such a fuss over it. Really, it was no big deal." He looked back to the road, biting his lip.

Insanely curious now, I asked, "What?"

He paused, like he'd rather not tell me, but of course, he eventually did. "Well, you know I lived with him and his parents for a year?"

"Yeah," I said, puzzled as to where he was going with this.

"Well, he and his dad had a...strained relationship, I guess you could say. Anyway, one day his dad took it too far, knocked him around a little. I didn't really think about it, I just wanted it to stop. I guess I kind of stepped in front of him, took a blow for him." He looked over at my reaction for a second, before turning back to his driving.

I stared at him, shocked. I hadn't heard this story before. It sounded exactly like something Denny would do though. My heart squeezed a little for Kellan...

He shook his head, his brow creased. "That seemed to wake his dad up a little. He didn't bother him again while I was there." He lightly shook his head. "I don't know about after though..." Looking over at me, he gave me his goofy grin. "Anyway, Kellan just kind of we were more a family than his real family after that." He laughed and looked back to the road. "I think he's more thrilled that I'm back, than I am."

When we arrived at the bar, Kellan was already there, sitting with his three other band mates at a table in the back near the stage. He was sitting on the end, looking relaxed and comfortable, one foot propped on his knee and sipping a beer. To his left, was the longer-haired blonde that I remembered as the bassist. Across from him, was the teddy-bear drummer that I'd hoped was our new roommate, and finishing the circle, to the drummer's left, was the last member of the group, the other blonde guitarist. I was a little surprised that they weren't hidden away somewhere, getting ready to play. But they looked completely confident that they were going to be great, and were simply relaxing with a few beers before going up there.

Two women sitting at the table across from them were openly watching their every move. One was clearly gaping at Kellan. She looked drunk enough, and intrigued enough, that I thought at any moment she was going to lunge herself across the aisle and plop right down in his lap. While Kellan paid her absolutely no attention, I wasn't sure if he wouldn't mind if she decided to do just that.

Kellan's attention however was currently being held by the bassist sitting next to him. From the door I couldn't tell what they were talking about, but all of the guys were listening to his story with smiles on their faces.

Denny noticed them as well and turning to smile at me, he started leading us over to their table. As we got close enough to hear the bassist's words, I decided that coming here was a bad idea, and wished that I had kept my mouth shut and we were warm and comfortable, snuggling on the couch again. Denny was pulling me steadily forward though, so I glumly followed.

"...this girl, damn, she had the best rack I've ever seen." The bassist paused to make a crude gesture with his if the guys would need that statement clarified. "And the shortest skirt too. Everybody around us was completely wasted, so I ducked under the table and shoved that skirt as high as it would go. Then I grabbed my beer bottle and stuck..."

Kellan smacked him on the chest, noticing Denny's and my arrival. We stopped at the end of the table before him, Denny chuckling a little. I was sure I was blushing, and tried to keep my face as smooth as possible.

"Dude...I'm getting to the good part, hold on." The bassist look mildly confused.

"Griff..." Kellan pointed over to me. "My new roommates are here."

He looked up to glance at Denny and me. "Oh yeah...roommates." He looked over at Kellan again. "I miss Joey, man...she was hot! Seriously, why did you have to tap that? Not that I blame you, but-"

He cut off as Kellan smacked him in the chest, even harder. Ignoring the bassist's irritation, Kellan pointed up to us. "Guys, this is my friend Denny and his girlfriend Kiera."

I tried to fix my face into a smile. I hadn't known why his old roommate had left, and I was a little shocked and, of course, still a little embarrassed at the crude conversation we'd walked into. Denny smiled and smoothly said, "Hello." I managed to mumble out a, "Hi."

"Hey." The bassist nodded his chin up in greeting. "Griffin." He eyed me up and down, making me extremely uncomfortable and I squeezed Denny's hand harder, moving slightly behind him.

His could-be twin across the table from Kellan, stuck his hand out in a more polite greeting. "Matt, Hi."

"The guitarist, right?" Denny asked him while he shook his hand. "You're really good!"

"Yeah, thanks, man." He seemed genuinely pleased that Denny had remembered what he played. Griffin however, snorted, and Matt threw him a look. "Oh, get over it, Griffin."

Griffin shot him a look right back. "All I'm saying, is that you totally messed up that last riff. I rock that song, I should totally play it."

Ignoring what sounded like an on-going argument, the big teddy-bear looking guy beside Matt stood up and extended his hand to us. "Evan, drummer. Nice to meet you."

We shook his hand while Kellan stood up. He walked across the aisle to the drunken women. I thought the one who had been gaping at him earlier might pass out at his nearness. He leaned over the back of her chair, brushed aside a lock of her hair and whispered something very closely in her ear. She nodded, flushing slightly, and then he stood, grabbing a couple of empty chairs beside them. The women were giggling like school girls as he walked away.

He set the chairs down for us at the end of the table, with a slight smile on his face. "Here, have a seat."

Feeling odd about that whole exchange, and not entirely comfortable with our new companions, I sat down with a small frown on my face. Kellan's smile widened. He seemed to really enjoy it when I was uncomfortable.

Griffin was turning his attention to Denny as we sat down. "What's your British?"

Denny smiled politely at him. "Australian."

Griffin nodded, like he knew that all along. "Ahhhh. Ahoy, mate."

Kellan and Evan laughed. Matt looked over at him like he was the world's biggest idiot. "Dude, he's Australian...not a pirate."

Griffin sniffed haughtily. "Whatever." He took a swig of his beer.

Laughing a little, Denny asked, "What's the name of your band anyway?"

Griffin chuckled while Kellan stated, "D-Bags."

I looked over at him incredulously and then smiled. "Seriously?"

Griffin surprisingly frowned a little. "They made me condense it, the pussies. I wanted the full thing. State it loud, state it proud!" He smacked the table.

Matt rolled his eyes. "If we ever want to play somewhere bigger than Pete's, then we need a name they can put on the marquee." At least one of them seemed to have goals for a bigger future.

Griffin shot an irritated look over to Matt, while Kellan and Evan chuckled. "Dude, I made t-shirts... "

"No one is stopping you from wearing them," Matt muttered, rolling his eyes again.

Kellan and Evan laughed harder, and even Denny chuckled a little. I couldn't help but smile at them. "Are you guys brothers?"

Griffin looked at me in horror. "Absolutely not!"

Surprised, I looked back at Matt and then to him again. They really could have been twins. "Oh, sorry it's just you look so..."

"We're cousins," Matt explained. "Our dad's are twins, so the resemblance is...unfortunate." He frowned.

Griffin snorted again. "Unfortunate for you...that I'm hotter." The rest of the guys at the table laughed while Matt rolled his eyes again.

Abruptly, Kellan lifted two fingers in the air and nodding his chin up, motioned the fingers down at Denny and me. I looked across the room to where he was focused. An older woman, who smiled at him oddly, was running the bar at the far end of the long room. She seemed to know exactly what he meant, and handed two beer bottles to a waitress, pointing her in our direction.

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