Garrett got The Back Door. In a manner of speaking. He’s somehow managed to talk them into an actual, paying gig at The Back Door, a feat that comes close to substantiating his claims that “I’m a miracle worker, man. You got me, you got miracles.”
The meeting today is a formality, Garrett assures them. Mostly. “We’ve got a gig and it pays, okay?” he said last week, bristling under the barrage of Henry’s questions. “How long and how much are TBD. Just meet with Cooper the day before, be polite, load the stuff, act like professionals, and try not to fuck it up.” That is the mission for today.
Billy turns to head out of the parking garage with his arms full of cables, only to find himself face-to-face with an empty-handed Garrett.
“I’ll take them, no problem,” he says, grabbing the cables and making for the exit.
“Nah, it’s all right, I’ll just—” Billy starts, but Will cuts him off.
“We got it, Mac.”
“We’ll take care of it.”
Billy looks between them, confused. It’s dark in this corner of the building, and he has to squint to make out their expressions. “What the fuck are you talking about?”
“We’re going to take the meeting. And the setup. Henry and Gar and me.”
“Look,” Garrett says, “It’s not that you can’t come, Mac. It’s just—”
“You can’t come, Mac,” Henry says, slamming the back of the van and hauling a pair of mic stands onto his shoulder. Will looks down at the amp he’s been rolling and doesn’t say anything. “It’ll be better if we talk to Cooper on our own.”
Billy gapes for a moment. “Fucking— Why? I’ve never even met the guy.”
“It’ll go smoother without you there.”
“Since when am I— I’m the people person, Henry. I’m the one that’s good with people. You don’t even like people. And Will’s a pushover. Cooper’s an asshole, everyone knows that, you need someone to—”
“He doesn’t like the Irish.”
Henry shrugs. “He really, really hates Irish people. So we’re going to do all the negotiating, bring you in tomorrow for the gig. Me and Will do not look very Irish.”
“You’re not serious.”
Henry looks apologetic. “Look. He is a dick. But he’s a dick with a stage, remember? He’s a dick with an audience. Excellent sound; and he’ll pay. So we’ll just grin and bear it, eh?”
“I’m a fucking British citizen.”
“Yeah. But you look pretty damn Irish. He’s a touchy guy. Fucking stopped Grave Sun in the middle of their set for slagging off his sister. And they weren’t even— Anyway. It’s just something we’ve got to put up with for a while. Hey, don’t be mad. Gar’s only coming because he’s the manager, otherwise it’d just be me and Will. I told Tom to come later, just for set up. And he could be fucking Swedish. But right now, we’ve got to get on Cooper’s good side, right? This is our shot.”
Billy sighs. “Whatever. Fine. How long to you think you’ll be?”
“Hour, maybe hour and a half,” Garrett says. “Politics, you know. We’ll have to have a drink or two.”
“Why the fuck did you make me come all the way out here? I was up half the night and I feel like shit.”
“We needed the van,” Will says.
“But you don’t need me.”
“It’s your van,” Will responds, reasonably. “We’re not going to just take your van. That’s rude.”
Billy rolls his eyes and turns back to the vehicle. “I’m having a nap. Wake me up when you get back, yeah?”
Will nods and starts rolling the amp towards the exit, Garrett following him with a still-embarrassed expression. Henry looks like he’s about to say something, but Billy cuts him off.
“It’s fine, Henry. Really. It’s actually kind of funny. I’m just tired. Go on. Make sure Jimmy gets what he needs tomorrow.”
“Will do,” Henry says and follows the others out of the garage. Billy shakes his head with a quiet chuckle and crawls into the back of the van, shutting the door behind him and covering his legs with the tarp that he keeps folded up behind the seats. In a few minutes he’s fast asleep.
An hour later Henry scrubs one hand across his eyes, sighing as Tom stares at him in indignation.
“You brought me out here to move an amp? A single amp?” Tom looks between Garrett and Henry. Garrett scratches the back of his neck. Henry sighs.
“Look, you need to take off before Cooper gets back. And the setup’s better than we thought, which is a good thing, right? So just take Mac’s amp out to the van and then piss off.”
Tom grunts shortly and starts rolling the amp out of the bar, flipping two fingers over his shoulder. Will comes over to Henry, bumping his shoulder.
“You sure about the new guy? Seems a little—”
“That’s what makes him good, my friend. That’s exactly what we need.” He shoves Will’s shoulder lightly with his own, then turns back to survey the stage.
Tom is relieved to find the back of the van unlocked, not relishing the thought of going back inside. He plants one foot on the bumper and heaves the amp in with perhaps a bit more force than Jimmy would have approved. As soon as it lands there’s a howl from the shadowy interior of the van, which sends Tom lurching backwards. He loses his balance and sprawls on the concrete with a series of less-than-dignified noises.
Billy yanks his smarting left hand out from under the amp, shouting, “Fucking cunt what the fuck son of a fucking bitch fucking fuck!” while struggling out from underneath the tarp. He pokes his head out into the dim light of the garage and sees Tom, white-faced and gasping, on the ground beneath him.
“What the fuck, Tom?” he growls, cradling his hand to his chest.
“Me what the fuck?” Tom wheezes. “You what the fuck! What the fuck?” He takes a shuddering breath. “I think I may be dead. What the hell are you doing lurking in the back of a van like a fucking—”
“I was asleep! It’s my fucking van! You can’t just drop shit on sleeping people. Christ.” Billy climbs out and stretches his neck.
Tom props himself up on his elbows and takes in Billy’s unruly hair, half-rucked-up shirt and the red sleep lines crisscrossing his cheek. “Why were you sleeping in the van? Aren’t you supposed to be inside?”
Billy shrugs and gives him a small smile. “Cooper hates Micks. So I’m the dirty little secret.”
Tom waggles his eyebrows. “Are you now? Give me a hand up, will you? I’ve just about cracked my fucking head open.”
Billy reaches down and hauls him to his feet. He stumbles a bit, and knocks Billy back into the van’s bumper before regaining his balance.
“Whoa there. You all right?”
Tom waves him off. “Yeah, fine. Jesus!”
“Fucking Christ! Is that all you?”
Tom is staring at the front of Billy’s jeans, which reminds Billy of the rather uncomfortable result of a really good dream. He blushes and starts to turn away. Tom grabs his arm.
“No, don’t— Can I just—?” He reaches out and grabs a handful of Billy’s crotch. Billy tries to lurch away from him but fails, pinning himself against the bumper. Tom squeezes lightly and Billy grits his teeth.
“Tom, what the—” he begins evenly, but trails off as Tom looks up at him through his eyelashes.
“You’ve been holding out on me,” he says quietly, sliding his thumb along the side of Billy’s fly.
“Look, I don’t think this is a very—” he breaks off as Tom’s knuckles twist against him.
“Really?” Tom grins at him, and Billy can’t help but picture a wild animal baring its teeth before pouncing. “Not a good idea? You really think so?”
He moves closer, impossibly closer, before sliding the middle finger of his unoccupied hand under the neckline of Billy’s t-shirt. Billy shivers and his eyes flutter closed.
Tom leans closer and rubs his cheek against the side of Billy’s jaw. Billy exhales shakily and rests his right thumb against Tom’s hip.
“Mac,” Tom murmurs, his mouth touching Billy’s ear.
Billy swallows. “Yeah?” He can feel Tom’s grin against the skin of his jaw.
“Get in the van.”
“How much time do we—” he starts as Tom yanks the door shut behind him. In the dark of the van, he can just make out the white of Tom’s smile. Tom shoves the amp up against the driver’s side wall, making a bit of a space.
“Ten minutes. Maybe twenty,” Tom says turning back to him and hooking two fingers into Billy’s belt loops.
“Christ,” Billy gasps.
“Right,” Tom grins wider. “So fuck me quickly, Paddy boy.”
Billy lets out a surprised laugh, which turns into a groan. “That should not be a turn-on,” he manages before engulfing Tom’s mouth in his own and pulling him to the floor. Tom’s laughter bubbles out over their joined lips, and his fingers twist in the back of Billy’s t-shirt.
For a few moments they grapple gracelessly until Tom cracks his head against the amp. ”Fucking fuck!” he howls, his bottom lip still trapped between Billy’s teeth as he rolls them into the tiny bit of open space. With one final, solid kiss, he pushes himself away from Billy and clicks on the overhead light.
“Come on,” he says, the angle of the light throwing most of his face into shadow. “Let’s see what we’re working with.” He pushes Billy backward until he is sitting with his legs stretched in front of him, knees bent. He looks expectantly at Billy, who raises an eyebrow and leans back on his hands. Tom grins and has Billy’s fly open and jeans around his ankles in a matter of seconds.
“Christ, kid,” Billy laughs, and Tom yanks off his shoes with an air of pride.
“I’ve had a lot of practice,” he says simply, and pulls off Billy’s boxers. ”Fuck,” he breathes. “That is the loveliest thing I’ve seen in ages.”
“Trust you to go all poetic about a cock,” Billy says, tone barely wavering. Tom stares, unmoving. Billy starts to squirm under his gaze, and Tom smiles wickedly, leaning in to run his nose along the length.
“God. Smells good, too.” He plays just the tip of his tongue lightly along the length and Billy’s legs slide further apart. “How do you keep something like this a secret, eh?” Tom continues, voice just slightly more than a mumble, hand taking over for his mouth. Billy sucks in a loud breath through his nose.
“Pretty sure you’re supposed to keep your cock a secret,” he says, and Tom snorts, pulling a condom out of his back pocket and slapping it against Billy’s chest.
“Hold that,” Tom says and rises. “If you want to keep that work of art hidden away,” he says seriously, opening his own fly. “At least hide it somewhere useful.” With that he yanks down his own jeans and—
“Of course you wouldn’t,” Billy says, unable to hide the admiration in his voice or the blush rising in his face at the sight of Tom, bare in the warm light. Tom smiles and strips off his shirt, kicks off his shoes and clicks off the light.
“There. No need to be bashful.” He settles himself down on Billy’s stretched-out thighs. “Just us and the dark, right?”
Billy slides his hands up the solid mass of Tom’s back, outlining each muscle and bone as he kisses his way along the crest of his shoulder and up the side of his neck. He turns his head to the side to tear open the foil packet with his teeth, shifting himself away from Tom to roll the condom on. Tom whines at the loss of contact, then settles one leg in between Billy’s. He rocks his hips, rubbing himself along Billy’s thigh from his knee up to his hip. Billy rolls his neck and lets his eyes drift shut, focusing on the feel of Tom’s arse as it grinds down onto his kneecap.
“Fuck,” Billy breathes, working his own cock as quickly as he dares. “Do you have—?”
“Shit. Yeah. Somewhere.” Tom stops his motion and reaches back for his jeans. He cants one leg up in order to reach them, giving Billy a shadowy view of his backside while digging in the pockets. “Aha!” he cries triumphantly, raising a small tube over his head and lurching back to his position atop Billy’s right leg.
“I feel like I should be surprised,” Billy says, arching an eyebrow.
“Always be prepared,” Tom responds with a wink, swiveling his hips and nudging his knee into Billy’s cock.
“Here, let me—” Billy starts to reach for the tube, but Tom ignores him and squeezes a generous amount of gel onto his fingers.
“No time. Next time, definitely. But I need to get that gorgeous thing inside me.” He reaches back and, though Billy can’t see his hand, he can definitely see the effect play out across Tom’s face. His mouth falls open before pulling tight in a grimace, and his breath comes loudly through his nose. He begins alternating the movement of his fingers with the slide of his arse against Billy’s knee, holding himself open. Billy tosses his head back with a loud curse as he feels the wetness of the lube transfer onto his own skin.
“You good?” he asks after a few minutes, unsure of the answer he wants to hear. On the one hand, he’s desperate to flip Tom onto his back, on the other, he could happily sit here underneath him for the rest of his life.
“Ah, fuck. Fuck. Almost.” Tom works himself frantically, tipping forward slightly to rub his cock against Billy’s hip. Billy takes this as his cue and flips them, landing awkwardly behind the passenger seat with Tom stretched out on the thin carpet. He slides two fingers into Tom’s arse, cutting off the complaint before it even reaches Tom’s mouth. Tom let’s out a sighed “Fu-u-uck,” and Billy presses just the tip of his cock against the wet opening, sliding his fingers out of the way and up the back of Tom’s thigh. Tom reaches up and slides his hands under Billy’s t-shirt. Billy takes the hint and pulls it off, realigning himself against Tom’s backside.
“You okay?” Billy gasps, stilling the involuntary shifting of his hips.
“Fuck. Fuck yes. Yes, come on.” Tom growls and with one smooth motion Billy slides home.
Tom’s face twists up in a grimace which breaks into an open-mouthed half-smile.
“Holy fuck. Oh Jesus. Oh Jesus Christ.”
“You all right?” Billy grunts.
“Fucking move!” Henn shouts, scratching his nails along Billy’s arms. Billy begins to rock slightly, then harder, gritting his teeth and trying to think of something, anything, besides the warm heat around him and the quirk of Tom’s eyebrows every time he slides deeper. He breathes out slowly and evenly and grabs a tighter hold of Tom’s hips.
“Oh God,” Tom gasps, voice driven higher. “Oh my God.”
“Feel good?” Billy asks, reaching over to give Tom’s cock a few pulls.
“Fuck,” Tom responds emphatically. “It’s like it’s—fuck--custom-made or something. Sweet Jesus.”
Billy grins and pushes in deeper, lowering the angle of Tom’s upraised thighs. Tom stops breathing for a moment, then gasps loudly, head slamming back into the floor.
“Fuck. Yes. Go, go, go, harder,” he pants and Billy complies. Tom’s head is sliding along the floor on each thrust, thumping against the back of the passenger seat. Billy stills his hips for a moment.
“Here, let me—”
“No, no, no, no, no you don’t, don’t you fucking dare,” Henn chants, swiveling his hips down further onto Billy’s cock.
“Ah, God. Just let me—Jesus—just let me get the tarp or something for your head.”
Tom growls and hooks his ankles around the back of Billy’s thighs, squeezing to restrict his movement. The tensing of his thighs transfers into his internal muscles, shifting along Billy’s length. Billy shudders and curses, forgetting for a moment what the argument was about. Then he slams in, hard, and Tom’s head strikes the back of the seat with an audible crack.
“You’re gonna get a fucking concussion. Shit. Tom. Tom! Just—” He pulls most of the way out and reaches back for his own jeans.
Tom throws his hands behind his head, bracing himself half-suspended against the seat. “Billy!” he roars, legs shaking with the exertion of holding Billy still.
“Okay, okay,” Billy says, rearranging himself and pushing back in. Tom’s head comes close to slamming against the seat back, but his arms serve to absorb most of the shock.
Billy spreads his legs slightly, giving himself a more stable base as he picks up rhythm. Tom is all but hanging now, hands gripping the back of the seat and and legs tight against Billy’s sides. Billy trails the hand not occupied with balance along Tom’s chest, around his back, then onto his cock. He pulls in time with his own movements, alternating quick jerks with slow rolls but gradually getting faster and faster. He leans forward and manages a quick, biting contact with Tom’s mouth. Tom’s cries are getting higher and higher, his eyes squeezing shut now on every thrust.
“Oh Christ,” he whines, knuckles going white. “Oh God, I’m— Shit, oh fuck I’m going—”
Billy pulls faster on Tom’s cock and mutters, ”Come on, baby boy.”
“What?” Tom gasps, opening his eyes.
Billy loses his rhythm. “Shit. Sorry, sorry.”
Tom pushes hard against him, moving one hand from the seat to Billy’s back. “No. It’s good. Christ it’s good. Fuck. Better than good. Say it again.”
Billy inhales sharply and leans over him, kicking his hips harder. “Come on, baby boy. Fuck. Come for me. Come on.” He lurches forward, moving his left hand from it’s position on the floor to cover Tom’s fingers on the hard plastic in front of him.
Tom digs his nails into Billy’s back and tosses his head back, muscles bulging as his right arm takes more of his weight. He bites his own lips bloody in his failure to muffle a scream as he comes. Billy shudders in response, groans, and collapses onto Tom’s chest, gasping. He wraps both hands around the back of Tom’s head, lowering them both gently to the floor.
“Fuck. Oh fuck. Jesus Christ.”
“Holy sweet fuck,” Tom agrees.
Billy pulls himself to his knees with a groan, pulling off the condom and tying it off. He grabs a stack of napkins from between the seats to wipe himself off and passes the remainder to Tom.
“Where the fuck am I—?” He casts around for a place to discard his trash.
“Just throw it outside,” Tom says, reaching over to pop open the passenger-side door and toss his filthy napkins out. Billy looks down at the tied-off condom.
Tom looks at him with a weary expression. “It’s a parking garage, Billy. This is what parking garages are for.” He takes the crumpled pile of napkins and condom out of Billy’s hands and tosses them out the door, slamming it shut.
Billy stretches, waiting for his breathing to even out, then winces at the sting in his right shoulder. “I think I’m wounded,” he says, craning his neck to peer over his own back.
“Let me see.” Tom reaches over to click on the overhead light, turning everything in the van a warm amber. Billy turns on his knees to let Tom see his back. After a few moments of silence, Billy starts to turn back around, but Tom’s hand on his arm stills him. He feels fingers ghosting across the top of his shoulders, followed by a tongue, which traces a path from his left deltoid across to his shoulder blade. Billy freezes, breath held. Tom mouths down his spine before leaning back up to lick a soothing line across the marks of his own fingernails. He sits back upright, but continues trailing his fingers across Billy’s back.
“I’ve just been fucked by an angel,” he says with something like wonder softening his voice. “That makes me, like, a saint or something, right?”
Billy laughs and turns around, stretching out his legs and pulling Tom into his lap. “Saint Thomas of the Consecrated Arse,” he grins, cupping the relic in question with both hands. “Oh yes.”
He tucks his face into Tom’s neck and bites lightly. Tom shivers and rounds his shoulders, stretching his arms around Billy’s neck with a satisfied sigh.
“Don’t get too comfortable there,” Tom murmurs in his ear. Billy tenses. Tom pulls away and reaches back for his jeans, pulling them on with an air of absolute nonchalance. “I wonder how the rest of the meeting went. Hey, maybe we’ll get to do the rat song tomorrow. I’m ready for it. I think it’d go well.”
Billy remains frozen for a moment, then takes a sharp breath in through his nose and reaches for his boxers. “Yeah. Maybe.”
“Don’t you think?”
“Yeah. It would be good.” He faces away from Tom to pull on his jeans, trying to force his expression into something that makes sense. “You should stop calling it ‘the rat song,’ though,” he says over his shoulder. “Henry’s going to slug you one of these days.”
“Yeah, probably,” Tom says agreeably. “If Will doesn’t do it first.”
Billy turns back with an intentional smile. “He’d like you better if you stopped hitting on him.”
“Hey. Don’t put a fox in a henhouse. I can’t help my nature.” He winks at Billy then lewdly adjusts himself inside his jeans. Billy curses internally. Now that he knows what Tom wears underneath them, he’ll never be able to look at his drummer the same way again. Tom slams open the back door of the van and hops out, stretching his arms above his head and exposing a wide expanse of bare skin under his t-shirt. Billy curses again.
“Hail the conquering heroooooooes!” Garrett’s deep bellow echoes eerily in the dimness of the garage.
“How’d it go?” Billy asks, hopping down from the van to stand a safe distance away from Tom.
“Perfectly,” Garrett says at the same moment Henry says, “All right.”
“The guys an arsewipe,” Will explains. “But we got an hour, and the sound’s great. Jimmy’s going to wet himself.”
“Good. Good,” Billy says, scratching the back of his neck. Tom grins at each of them in turn, bouncing on his toes like a prize fighter.
“Rock and roll!” he shouts, throwing a few mock punches at Will, who jerks back before returning them.
“I thought you left, Tom,” Henry calls after them as Will chases Tom around a pillar.
“Yeah. Thought I could maybe get a ride. Save myself the Tube fare, you know.”
“There’s only the two seats in the van,” Henry says. “Unless Will and Gar can take you—”
Will tackles Tom and gets him into a headlock. “Jesus Christ, man. You smell like sex.”
“I always smell like sex,” Tom retorts, trying to sound dignified while his windpipe is slowly constricted by Will’s elbow. “This is how a healthy adult male is supposed to smell.”
Will lets him go and makes a show of wiping his hands off on the front of his pants. “He’s going to stink up the car,” he complains, looking at Garrett. Garrett shrugs.
“Fine,” Will says. “Come on.” He leads Tom to another row of cars, where his crappy old Ford is parked.
“So long,” Garrett says. “We’ll meet tomorrow noon for rehearsal, yeah? Do the set list then?”
“Sounds all right,” Henry says, giving him a farewell nod. Billy gives them all a wave as they start loading Will’s guitar into the trunk.
Henry gets into the passenger seat of the van, but Billy stays where he is.
“You want me to drive?” Henry asks.
“No. No, it’s fine,” Billy sighs, then slams the back door and hauls himself in behind the wheel. He starts the car and waits. Henry sniffs.
“Christ. Speaking of—”
“Oh no.” Henry turns to him, but Billy stares intently out of the windshield, as though he’s driving along the edge of a precipice. “You didn’t. Tell me you didn’t.”
“I didn’t what?” he asks innocently.
“FUCK, man!” Henry bursts out. Billy drops his hands from the wheel.
“It’s fine, really. It’s not a— I mean, one time thing. It’s not like I—”
“Holy shit, you totally do. Don’t you? You do.” Henry shakes his head with a tragic expression. “Ah, Christ. You’re the bloody iceberg that’s going to sink this thing, aren’t you?”
“No,” Billy answers sharply, looking at him for the first time. “You think the band isn’t important to me? It fucking is. More than anything. Don’t get all fatalistic just because—”
“Just because you fucked the drummer--the brand-new fucking drummer--and now you’re all moony-eyed.”
“I’m not— Moony-eyed isn’t a thing.”
“It is and you are. Look, Mac. I know you. Very well. And I know the type of guy you are. I know the way you think.”
“And I love you. You know that. You’re hopeless but I love you. So understand trust me when I say: You’re fucked. I know that face, and that face says ‘Hey, Henry. I’m fucked.’”
Billy stares at him for a moment, then his shoulders slump. “I’m fucked, aren’t I. I’m actually fucked.”
Henry slaps a hand on Billy’s shoulder and gives him a sympathetic smile. Billy drops his forehead onto the steering wheel. The van’s horn echoes around the garage, drowning out the sound of Will’s car roaring away.