A/N: hey! i'm back with another story. if you're just walking in right now, i strongly suggest you go read The Shadow, my other story, before you read this one because it'll make sense but... not so much. anyway, i'm back, i'm posting something, here we go!

Chapter 1

"Heeeeeeeey!" Jake shouted from the table he stood on. Our kitchen table, that is.

I surveyed the apartment, jaw dropping at how many people were there and how much of a mess it was.

"Holy shit." I finally managed to croak out, stunned.

"Hey Erik!" Jake climbed off the table and teetered over to me. His brown eyes were half shut, the alcohol obviously too much for him to keep his eyes open. "Hey, do you want a beer? You should have a beer. The man needs a beer!" he looked around aimlessly. "We got beer," he told me. "GET THIS MAN A BEER!" he shouted.

"Thanks, I'll pass." I replied dryly, pulling away. I stepped over a couple making out on the floor, several empty beer bottles and cans, walked past people doing shots, and made my way into the kitchen.

I caught sight of the slender back facing me and stopped in my tracks. Her long dark brown hair swept across her back as she washed her hands at the sink. She turned around and I was startled to see dark green eyes, set off by her green sweater. "Hi," she graced me with a smile.

And I was in love like that.

"Hi." I blurted out. Oh smooth, Erik, way to impress the girl.

"I don't think we've met," she pushed the sleeves of her sweater to her elbows with another stunning smile. My stomach turned over. I hadn't been this struck by a girl in a long time.

"I'm Erik." I replied, automatically offering her a hand like my mom taught me.

"Christine," she replied, shaking my hand, green eyes sparkling with her smile. Wow she was beautiful. I mentally shook myself. "Are you one of Adam's friends?" she asked me, letting go of my hand and sliding her hands into the back pockets of her jeans.

"Yeah, I'm one of his roommates." I replied, scratching the back of my neck.

"Did you just get off work?" she gestured to my clothes.

I looked down at my red polo Red Rooster shirt and black dress pants then winced. "Yeah.…" I replied with a weak smile.

"No, it suits you," she teased in reply, eyes crinkling with her smile.

"Oh thanks." I replied dryly with a smile back. "So if your boyfriend getting you a drink?" I asked casually.

"I'm pretty sure that even if I did have a boyfriend, I could get my own drink," she teased dryly in reply, obviously reading between the lines in my question. I smiled back.

"Hey." Ben clapped me on the shoulder and then took in Christine. "I don't think we've met," he told her with the familiar, "You're hot!" look. He ran his hand through his short blond hair and smirked.

"I'm Christine.… I'm a friend of Erin," she pointed to Adam's girlfriend.

"I'm Ben. Can I get you a drink?" he asked her charmingly, working his blue eyes.

Ass. Seeing my opportunity slipping away right under my nose, I jumped in with, "I think the girl could get her own drink if she was thirsty."

They looked up at me like they had forgotten I was there. Ben sent me a look while Christine let out a surprised laugh. Hiss face changed though as he slid his arm around to the small of her back. "Have you met Jake yet?" he asked her casually, steering her away from me.

"He's been a little out of it." Christine replied dryly but allowed herself to be led away. I watched helplessly as Ben stole the girl from me.

She looked back once and flashed me a small but dazzling smile then disappeared into the crowd.

I shook my head, disgusted with myself and utter lack of backbone. I unbuttoned my polo shirt at the neck as I left the kitchen. You know why I didn't go after them? Because I'm a Nice Guy.

I'm sure you know what I mean. Those guys that always finish last. The ones that are "so nice!" but "not dating material." Or wait because this one is even better: "You're like the brother I've never had!" I have one little sister and that's plenty for me.

Speaking of, I pulled out my phone as I pushed open the door into my room. I checked it for calls.… nothing, thank God. My little sister Ana has been having a rough time lately.… I was glad to see there were no messages or missed calls. She had mentioned the last time we had spoken there was some huge party for her best friend tonight. Hopefully her boyfriend was behaving himself.

I turned on the light and caught myself from tripping over Jake's guitar then rolled my eyes. Jake's side of the room was naturally a disaster but what can you do?

I set down my car keys, cell phone, and wallet on the dresser and then pulled off my shirt. I rubbed my tired muscles absent-mindedly, going back to thinking of Christine. "You dumb ass." I chided myself in my head. "You let another one get away. You let your friends walk all over you again and steal your girl."

My muscles ached. Serving on Saturday nights was always a bitch. There had been three birthday parties.… good tips, obnoxious kids. The best part was when the mother, drunk off her ass, had slipped me two twenty dollar bills because I was a "doll." My manager let me keep the tip but sent me to a different section after he saw the look on her husband's face. Classic.

Anyway, back to the Nice Guy curse. It's proven to be a cruse since most of my female friends, not to mention my sister, run to me when their boyfriends are being assholes. Look, I love my sister, and my girl friends are cool, but is it too much for me to ask for a girlfriend?

I sighed and took off my pants then climbed into bed in my boxers, wearily shutting off the lights. I was drained.… working two jobs and school always wore me out.

I was almost asleep (which was amazing, considering all the noise and banging around from the other room) when my door banged open. I jerked up, squinting in the light, and groaned at the sight of Jake making out with some girl against our door. "JAKE!" I shouted.

Jake pulled away but the girl (undoubtedly the classiest girl in the crowd), kissed his neck instead. "Be cool and sleep in Ben and Adam's room," he ordered breathlessly before she pushed him down on his bed and pulled off her shirt.

OKAY that was way more then I ever wanted to see of that girl.

I winced, averting my eyes, and pulled on jeans, skipping the t-shirt since I was just going into the other room. I left the room, comforter under my arm. The things I do for Jake.…

I glanced down the hall back into the living room and caught sight of Christine, leaning against the wall, as Ben leaned over her. He said something and then smirked down at her as she smiled back up at him.

"Put a shirt on, dude!" Adam yelled at me from the couch and then burst into laughter. I smirked at him then scowled, annoyed, as I stalked into Ben and Adam's room.

Someone kicked me in the back with their foot the next day. "Ow." I grunted, rolling over and looking up at the scowling face of Jake.

"Get up," he ordered, looking less then happy that he was awake. "You're going to be late for work."

"A little hung-over?" I smirked groggily as I got up off the floor. Adam's brown hair, barely visible, rolled over on his bed as I left the room.

"It's a bitch," he grumbled back flatly

I walked out the door as well and then stopped at the sight of the mess. "Shit, Jake." I stated, stunned at the mess.

"Yeah, it's bad, but at least you don't have to clean it up," he grumbled in reply, walking into our room.

My eyes were drawn to movement in the kitchen. I looked and immediately wished I had looked away.

Ben and Christine were in the kitchen, making what looked like pancakes. He wrapped his arms around her waist as she stirred the batter and she smiled. She looked back and he kissed her on the lips. It was revolting, disgusting, made my stomach turn over, and yet I still wanted to be in Ben's place.

"Cute huh?" Jake asked dryly, startling me.

"Huh?" I asked blankly, looking at him.

"They've been going at it since they got up." he said, shaking his head. "Personally I'm more of a "get your number, I'll call you," kind of guy but I guess Ben is more of a "let's make breakfast together" type."

"She was in the room last night?" I asked, surprised. Had I really been that asleep?

"No, they slept on the sofa.… Ben was pretty wasted but Adam told me that she seemed pretty sober herself," he shrugged and then looked at me. "So how much do you like her?" he asked point blank.

"I don't." I lied automatically, walking into our room and pulling on a t-shirt.

"Bullshit," he snorted. "Dude, I know you.… you haven't been this into a girl since.… I can't even remember."

"Go clean up the apartment." I snapped back, stuffing my feet into my shoes.

"I've got all day to do that," he replied, sitting down on his unmade bed, and leaning back against the wall, arms folded, scrutinizing me. "So you like Christine?"

"I don't have time in my life to "like" anybody." I snapped back, annoyed, as I stuffed my wallet into the back pocket of my jeans.

"It was just an honest question." Jake put his hands in the air in surrender.

I paused, looking at him as I put my cell phone and car keys in my pocket. "Don't tell Ben." I said before walking out the door.

"I knew it!" he shouted after me.

Ben and Christine looked up in the kitchen. "Knew what?" Ben asked curiously.

"That I'm going to be late for work." I lied quickly. "Hey Christine."

"Hey Erik," she replied. Was it my wishful thinking or imagination that she sounded almost embarrassed? I shrugged it off as I opened the door and then left the apartment.

I shut the door behind me and paused, leaning against the wall outside the apartment. I sucked whatever was going on in my head up and then walked down the stairs.