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throw the matches down into the glitter

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Pete turned slowly back and forth, watching himself in the mirror. The fabric swished with his movement, swished and swayed. He hadn't put his boots on yet; he could imagine how that would make it better. Make his legs look longer. Prettier.

Patrick came out of the bathroom, fussing with the buckle on his belt. "Oh, you're definitely going with the kilt, huh?"

Pete nodded and turned again, sideways to the mirror, studying how the fall of the fabric hid his ass. He should grab his own belt, and the boots, get all finished up and ready to play.

"Hot kilt action," Patrick said, clapping Pete on the shoulder before he walked away.

Pete nodded again and looked down his body. The fabric flared out from his knees. Skirt, he thought, swaying his hips again. Going to wear a skirt on TV.

He felt cold all over, except for his heart, which was beating so fast in his chest he was sure it must be glowing, visible through skin and clothes. Like Iron Man.


Meagan had helped him pick it out. Her first choice had been schoolgirl plaid, and he thought about it, but in the end he knew he had to be a little subtle. There had to be plausible deniability. It was important.

The black looked good, anyway. Once it was punked up with the boots and the belts and leather leggings, he had enough of an edge to hide behind that he could enjoy the way it felt.

He waited by the door while Patrick did his warm-ups and Joe talked on the phone with Marie and Marcus probably beat every level of Candy Crush because Marcus was some kind of a fucking wizard, Pete didn't even get it.

Andy was walking in lazy circles around the room; eventually one of them brought him by Pete, close enough to check him with his shoulder.

Pete leaned into the impact and faked a smile. "Ready?"

"Always ready." Andy bumped him again and stepped back. "You?"

Pete shrugged. "It's taped. We can do as many takes as we need to."

"That would not make us any friends."

Pete shrugged and thumped his head against the doorframe. "I'm here to kick ass and chew bubblegum..."

Andy giggled and walked away. Pete closed his eyes and pictured it: the runway, the lights, his bass under his hands, jumping and spinning and letting the skirt flare.

He felt so fucking good, and he hadn't even done it yet.


They actually weren't responsible for any of the extra takes, which Pete thought earned them at least a gold star if not a platinum one.

He tilted his head back and closed his eyes, letting the lights pound down on his face. Patrick's voice was filling up his earpieces, like it was coming from inside his head. Patrick was singing to him, and his friends were right behind him, and they were performing for TV, and he was wearing a skirt.

When he opened his eyes, the air was full of glitter. He stuck his tongue out and spun again, feeling the skirt flare out and fall down against his thighs, glitter gathering in his eyelashes. He tried to imagine doing this five years ago, or even two. It couldn't have happened. He needed to be here and now.

Trust-the-universe hippie bullshit had something going for it. Who knew?

He looked over at Patrick and found him looking back, grinning at Pete through the glitter. Pete jumped again, and kicked his feet out as hard as he could. For a second, he was flying.