It's 02:06 on the digital clock when Joe stirs awake in the darkness to the sound of Billy's voice mingling with the others on the other side of the wall of Mace's apatment. Joe lies still and listens to them talking. He hears Billy laugh, once, hoarse and loud. “Fucker,” Joe mumbles to himself in the dark. He's fully awake at 02:17 when Billy finally comes into their shared room. Joe squints against the light when Bill flicks the switch.
“Eighty-three dollars, you sad fuck,” Billy says by way of greeting. He's loud and cheerful, slurring his words a little. He slams the door shut behind him and moves into the room. Joe turns over fully on the futon to watch him. Billy's hair is standing up in its usual spikes. There's a Rorschach patch of sweat on the front of his shirt. The deep red welt running from the corner of his left eye and down across his cheekbone is darkening to purple, but the asshole is still grinning. Joe grunts, annoyed.
Mace, Oxenberger and Zit are playing records in the other room. Joe can hear their overlapping voices as a vague mumble beneath the song blasting out from the cheap speakers; Shithead's chant of "You're fucked up, babeh!" Biscuits is going crazy on the drums. Fucking D.O.A. Joe rolls to the edge of the bed. He only crashed out a couple of hours ago, and he's wearing all of his clothes except his socks. He sits up and pushes himself off the bed. “We're going out,” he proclaims.
Billy cocks his head, an amused smile playing at the corner of his mouth. “No, we're not.”
“Yes, my sad little sell-out friend, we are.” Joe scans the floor for his socks.“You've got eighty dollars. Mikey's gotten his hands on eighteen ounces of Black Afghan, and you're going to make this shit up to me.”
“No.” Joe points accusingly at Billy.“Fuck you. You just sold your fucking soul playing with a fucking Steppenwolf cover band.”
Billy laughs, unfazed. Joe realises that he hasn't seen any cash from Billy, yet. He's probably hidden it somewhere, or given it to someone to keep safe. Sneaky fucking bastard.
Joe's socks are nowhere to be found, but he spots his ”Chicks With Crabs” band shirt and picks it up from the pile of mostly clean clothes beneath the window. He and Bill are paying Mace fifty dollars a month to rent this room, and apart from Mace's ex-girlfriend's futon and Mace's ex-roommate's chair and digital clock, they've got nothing except random piles of shit in different corners of the room.
“You're buying me some fucking weed,” Joe repeats. He's trying to to turn the shirt right side out, but stops to cast a glance across the room. Billy's standing underneath the lightbulb, and the long shadows across his face makes his smile look a little eerie.
Joe drops the Chicks shirt to wrestle out of the one he's wearing. “Smilin' Buddha might still be open if Tom's bartending.” The shirt is not quite free of his wrists when Billy moves, grabs it with one fist and twists the facric around. Joe's hands are forced together, caught. “The fuck, Bill?”
“We're not going out,” Bill repeats and there's a feral edge to his smile now. He keeps Joe's hands twisted up tightly in front of him and starts walking him backwards. He looks buzzed and on edge, which is not a bad place to have William Boisy.
Joe could probably get free if he wanted to, but he's not sure that he does. This is how it goes. This is how they do things - and Joe can't say he wasn't trying to make it happen. Sometimes they fight, and sometimes they fuck, and so far the jury's still out on what it's going to be this time.
Billy backs him up until Joe feels the edge of the mattress pressing against the back of his knees, then he pushes Joe down til he's got him lying on the futon, bare feet flat on the cold wooden floor, arms above his head. Billy climbs on top of him, settling down with his ass resting on Joe's belly, grazing his crotch.
“I'm not gonna use my money to get you high,” Billy says.
Joe can feel the heat pooling in his groin. He's been wanting this ever since Billy left for soundcheck with the Born To Be Dickless Losers, or whatever the fuck their name was. “You fucking better, you backstabbing bastard,” he sneers. But he's losing this argument and fast. His cock is beginning to strain against the zipper of his jeans. Pinned like this there's no way he can hide it.
Billy ignores him. “Drum set,” he says, instead, and Joe blinks, trying to refocus.
“We're buying the fucking drum set,” Billy clarifies, and Joe knows which one he's talking about, now, the one they saw in a pawn shop three days back; the one they need for Pipe if they're going to play gigs anytime soon.
Billy shifts, putting more weight on Joe's trapped hands. “Drums, if you want this band to take off, you jealous bitch.” His smile is nothing but teeth and challenge, now, and Joe can't deny it. After all, he gave Billy the black eye that he is currently sporting. Fucking playing with another band, Mace's fucking wannabe Steppenwolf asshole friends.
The mere thought makes him twitch angrily in a half-hearted attempt to get free, but Billy rolls with the movement, shifting so the inseam of his jeans slides painfully over Joe's hard-on. Joe tries to bite back a gasp, but of course Billy notices. “Is that for me, Joseph,” he coos. He deliberately leans back a little to grind down on Joe's crotch. If he looked pleased before, he looks like the cat that got the fucking cream, now.
“Screw you,” Joe spits, and pulls against Billy's grip on his wrists, but even he can hear the breathless edge to his voice.
Billy snorts. “Lemme see.” Joe's not sure how, but Billy manages to hold him in place with one hand while yanking Joe's pants off with the other. Joe tries to push his ass down against the mattress, just to be contrary, but it's useless. He is spread out, naked and exposed from his wrists to his knees. There's a clink of bottles from the other room, someone shouting. The door doesn't lock.
Joe bites back his instinctive embarrassment. He follows Billy's gaze down to his own cock, hard and flushed in the tight space between them, the head beginning to peek out from the foreskin. His heart is pounding in anticipation.
Billy remains unmoving. Joe knows that Billy is waiting for him to ask for it or apologize or something fruity like that, but there is no chance in hell of that happening.
His cock is nestled against the inside of Billy's thigh, pressed against the soft, threadbare seat of his pants. Bill's knees are pressing a little too tightly against his ribcage, making his breathing shallow
“Drum set,” Billy repeats, like a patient kindergarten teacher, but Joe keeps his lips pressed closed.
When Joe doesn't answer, Billy shifts again, making his jeans rubs over Joe's naked skin.
“Ow, fuck, that hurts,” Joe protests.
There's a thump against the closed door as someone leans or falls against it. They both still. Above him, Bill worries his lower lip with his teeth, making it flush dark red. Joe already knows that Billy's gonna be Hard Core Logo's pretty face, the one they put in the front of every photograph.
They share a brief look when the person outside the door pushes off and stumbles on down the hall.
“Bet you it's Zit,” Billy mumbles. His grip on Joe's shirt loosens for a split second, and Joe goes for it, but Billy's too quick, and an instant later Joe's hands are twisted up even tighter. The tips of his fingers are beginning to tingle with the lack of circulation.
Billy leans down close. “Bet she's gonna come in here after she's used the can, to ask you to lend her something, or some other lame excuse to get you to fuck her. What'll she do when sees you lying here with your dick hanging out?”
Joe rolls his eyes, but finally Billy reaches down between them to wrap his hand around Joe's cock. Joe breathes hard through his nose, trying to be quiet.
His toes curl up against the splintery hardwood floor as Billy begins working him, tortuously slow. Two minutes of this, and Joe's fucking dying to move, to make some noise - but down the hall they hear the toilet flushing, someone moving in the hallway. Billy keeps jerking him, slow and steady. He twists his palm over Joe's cockhead, and Joe grunts loudly.
Billy leans down close. “Shut up,” he whispers, obviously egging Joe on. Joe twists his head to the side and closes his eyes, shutting the fuck up. The footsteps outside move past their room.
Billy's breath is hot and moist against Joe's ear. “No weed. No crack. You and me, Joe. Hard Core Logo.”
Joe moves his head back around. First time he had proclaimed their band name, Billy had laughed (“That is an ass name for a band.”), and they'd ended up wrestling on the ground, tearing one of Billy's three shirts to shreds.
When their eyes meet, Billy swallows hard. Joe can feel them getting close to this place they get to; no breath left for insults anymore, both of them gasping, daring the other to look away or close his eyes - and then finally this, Billy falling forward into him, teeth and lips and tongues meeting. Billy's mouth is wet and beery. He lets go of Joe's wrists to wrap his hand around the back of his neck, mashing their faces together. Joe keeps his arms above his head, but arches his back, strains his neck - offering himself up, bringing their bodies closer together.
He comes with the tight circle of Billy's thumb and index finger moving in small jerks just below the head of his dick; Billy's teeth biting the flesh of his cheek.
“Fuuuuck,” he groans. His eyes slide closed and he swallows a couple of times. His thigh muscles are trembling.
Billy lets go of him with jerky fingers and then wipes his hand on Joe's chest. “Bitch,” he mumbles, and then he clambers off, moving to lie down beside Joe on the bed. He starts humming quietly. He sounds awfully pleased with himself. Joe squints down through half closed eyes, and Billy's running a palm lazily over the bulge in his own jeans.
Joe lets his head fall to the side. He suspects that Billy gets a huge fucking power trip out of this - that there's nothing he loves more than being able to make Joe lose control. Not a fucking problem; Joe isn't going to say no to it, Joe is never going to say no to this.
When he opens his eyes, Billy is right there, his eyes a little bloodshot, face a little sweaty. The spikes of his hair are collapsing and falling into his eyes.
“Drum set,” Billy says, low and intimate.
In the other room, they're playing Bucky Haight's new single. Apart from the low murmur of Bucky's voice, the three-cord guitar riff, the room is quiet. Eventually, Joe lifts his ass to pull his jeans back up, buttoning them carefully over his still-tender dick. “Drum set,” he acquiesces, “and no more fucking Steppenwolf.”
Billy wets his lips. He holds Joe's gaze as he moves his arms over his head, crossing his wrists. He nods imperceptibly. “Hard Core Logo,” he says, and Joe rolls over towards him.