Stacie and I had been roaming the streets, talking and not paying attention to where we were headed when we spotted a bright green poster. "LONDON RATS! ONE NIGHT ONLY!" it read.

Stacie and I were both nineteen, and in our third year of bar-hopping on weekends, so we were always looking for new places to get trashed in. We shrugged and walked into the small bar. There was a band on the stage in the corner and a few people at the bar. There were a few tables lined against the walls for privacy, the waitress was making her rounds to those seated in them.

"Not a very popular band I'm guessing," Stacie said referring to the half-empty establishment. Once again I shrugged, not caring if the place was jam-packed or deserted, just wanting alcohol flowing through me.

We walked up to the bar and waited for the bartender. "What can I get you ladies?" He asked this in an English accent. I thought it was false until I saw the name on the wall behind him, Mann's English Pub I read. I nodded toward the plaque for Stacie, she acknowledged with a smile.

"Something that'll make us really drunk, really fast," I said, using that same line that I had used time and time again. Stacie and I both thought it seemed "experienced", something that was crucial if we, as minors, were to get any booze. If that didn't work, we'd either flirt or order cokes. Either way, at the end of the night we'd be drunk.

When our drinks arrived we settled in for a night of drink, music, and guys with accents. Thirty minutes later the music stopped, giving whoever was playing a break. Stacie and I didn't notice the break until a group of men swarmed the bar.

"I think… Stacie… that the band… has more members... than their fan club," I staggered in my drunkenness. Stacie and I laughed, took another swig and continued laughing.

"Actually," came a smooth, deep voice from over my shoulder, "the band is really popular over in Europe."

I turned around to see a blond-haired, brown-eyed guy in a white shirt with a scar on the left side of his mouth. I gave him what I thought was an evil look, and in my best English accent said, "So, then what the bloody 'ell are they doing over 'ere?"

He laughed, acknowledging my extreme drunkenness, and answered, rather patiently, "The owner of this pub is a fan and a family friend of one of the members of London Rats. When he found out that we'd be here on holiday, he asked us to play before we left."

I rolled my eyes and grunted, "Fans? With a name like London Rats?" I grabbed my glass and started to get off my stool. The room began spinning and I began toppling over. I was caught by this stranger, however my drink was not. "UGH! You spilt my drink!" Looking down I saw my shirt and pants had been splattered. I tried to push away from the guy, but he insisted on holding me up.

"Let me hail you a taxi."

"No. Stacie and I are leaving," I looked over to Stacie, who had become involved with some guy, and knew that I was alone for the rest of the night. I turned around and shrugged, "Let's go Screw-Boy."

He secured his arms around me and whispered seductively in my ear, "Call me Joe, love." It was the first time that I noticed he had an accent like the bartender's, I filed it in the back of my throbbing head and snapped, "I don't care what your name is, Joe. Just don't touch me." I slapped his arms off, took two steps and fell to the ground. I was on my knees trying to regain my balance when Joe's hand extended down toward me. I looked up, first angrily then it softened. I took his hand and he pulled me up.

That was how I met Joe Dane, lead singer and guitarist for the London Rats. Two years later we were still friends, despite the fact that his band was based out of London. They'd travel over to New York every few months and play a couple shows. Though I never went to the shows, I could be counted on to show up for the after-party. Sometimes Joe, Rion, Jordan, whatever chicks they picked up, and I would all head back to wherever they were staying and crash there. Normally, however, it was just the four of us sitting around talking, smoking, and drinking. Sometimes I'd take them out and show them the sights, other times we'd just lounge around and smashed.

My English Boys, as I called them, claimed me as their own after finding out I was five years younger than the eldest member, who was Joe. I was constantly telling them that I could handle myself, to which they would reply, "Except when it's your turn to buy the alcohol." I always responded with the fact that I could still drink more than them any day of the week. However, since I had met them I never let myself get as drunk as that first night I met Joe. There were things about him that intrigued me, like that scar on the side of his mouth, and if I was drunk I knew it'd be something I'd inquire about—something I didn't want to pry into for fear of hurting our friendship.

It's been two years since I met the London Rats and I was sitting in an airplane on my way to Europe, to England, to Joe, Rion and Jordon. It'd be another half hour before the plane landed, before I could meet up with them. I remember getting the call from Joe, "It's your birthday present Mari, love." "I'm only turning twenty-one. That's no big thing over there, but if you really insist then I will." "You can't spend your entire life in that city of yours. Come over. Come to a show. See how Rock Stars live."

I had laughed at the thought of the London Rats being considered Rock Stars. When I first met them they had just released an album, made it big, and toured the East playing major venues. Then punk was phased out and the boys were pushed back down into clubs. I knew they were back on the touring circuit and wouldn't be returning to the states for a while, so when Joe asked me to come I couldn't say 'no', not to his subtle English accent and the idea of spending a week in England.

Jordan and Rion met me at baggage. They were talking a-mile-a-minute about all the things we could do, where I would be staying, and about the big show on Tuesday. I laughed; every show was considered 'the big show'. Jordan gave me a piggyback ride down to where Joe was waiting with the car. An old, egg-white convertible was waiting with Joe leaning against the outside. I scrambled down from Jordan's back and ran to give Joe a hug. He picked me up and spun me like we hadn't seen each other in months, when in all reality it had only been a few weeks.