CH 2 - D-Bags

After awhile, Denny and I came down the stairs holding hands. It was almost like we were teenagers in puppy love. We were both thoroughly enjoying finally living together. I told Denny what we looked like, and we were both laughing as we rounded the corner into the kitchen.

The second thing I'd noticed about this house, right after taking in the small size of it, was how sparse on decorations it was. It was clearly evident that it was simply a place to sleep at night. A guy's pad. I was definitely going to have to do some shopping soon. It was just way too barren for any girl to leave alone for long, even me.

The kitchen was pretty decently sized, considering. The far wall had a long counter ending in a refrigerator. The opposite wall was half the length with a stove and microwave above it, and on the left of the stove, another short counter with a coffee pot full of freshly brewed coffee, the smell emanating from it making my mouth water. The back portion of the room had a moderately sized table with four chairs and a large window that overlooked the postage-stamp backyard.

The space in-between the short wall and the windowed-wall opened up to the living room and Kellan was walking through it. He was holding the morning paper and reading the folded front page. He was already dressed for the day in shorts and a short-sleeve tee, his wavy hair still messy, but more orderly than earlier...perfect. Even though Kellan was simply dressed, I felt suddenly very plain in my basic jeans and t-shirt. I tightened my hand in Denny's and dealt with it though.

"Hey, man." Denny smiled and went over to Kellan, who looked up at his voice.

"Hey, glad you guys made it!" Kellan smiled back and clasped Denny's shoulder in a quick hug. I smiled slightly too. Guys could be so cute.

With a warm smile in my direction, Denny said, "You already met Kiera, I hear." My smile left me at the memory.

"Yes." Kellan's eyes sparkled…a little too mischievously. "But, nice to see you again." At least he was being polite about it. Still smiling, Kellan walked over to the fresh pot and grabbed some mugs from the cupboard above it. "Coffee?"

"Not for me, no. I don't see how you guys can drink that stuff," Denny said, making a disgusted face. "Kiera loves it though." I nodded in agreement and smiled up at Denny. He didn't even like the smell of coffee. He was more of a tea-guy, which I found completely amusing and adorable.

Denny looked down at me. "Hungry? I think there is still some food in the car."

"Starving." I bit my lip and looked at his beautiful face for a second, then kissed him lightly and playfully smacked him in the stomach. Yeah, we were definitely teenagers in love again.

He gave me a brief peck and then turned to leave. As he moved away, I noticed Kellan behind him, watching us with an amused expression on his face. "Okay, be right back." Denny left the kitchen and I heard him grab his keys from the entryway table, where he'd tossed them last night. The door closed a second later and I marveled at how he wasn't even fazed that he was only wearing the t-shirt and boxers he had slept in.

Smiling, I went to the table to sit and wait for him. Kellan came over a few moments later with two cups of coffee. I made a move to stand up and put cream and sugar in mine, but looking at the coffee more closely, I could see that he already had. How did he know that I liked it that way?

Noticing my puzzled expression, he said, "I brought mine black. I can switch you, if you don't like cream?"

"No, actually I do like it this way." I smiled at him as he sat down. "I thought maybe you could read minds or something."

"I wish," he chuckled, taking a sip of his black coffee.

"Well, thank you." I raised my cup a little and took a sip…heaven.

Kellan looked across the table at me, his head tilted. "So, Ohio huh? Buckeyes and fireflies right?"

I smiled and mentally rolled my eyes at his limited knowledge of my home State. I didn't press him though. "Yep, that's about it."

He looked at me quizzically. "Do you miss it?"

I paused for a moment before answering him. "Well, I miss my parents and my sister, of course." I paused again and sighed a little. "But I don't know…a place is just a place. Besides, it's not like I won't ever see it again," I finished, smiling.

He frowned slightly at me. "Don't take this the wrong way, but why did you come all the way out here?"

I was a little annoyed at the question, but I tried to ignore it. I didn't know Kellan well enough to judge him. "Denny," I stated, as if that was the most obvious thing in the world.

"Huh." He didn't elaborate, just sipped his coffee.

Needing to switch subjects, I blurted out the first thing that popped into my head. "Why do you sing like that?" I instantly regretted saying it, realizing how horribly offensive it must sound. I didn't intend it that way. I was just curious why he was so…flirtatious on stage.

His blue eyes narrowed at me. "What do you mean?" he slowly asked. I got the feeling that his singing was something people usually didn't question him about. I couldn't tell if he was angry, but I didn't want to steer him that way. This was not how to make a good impression on the person I now shared a home with.

Pausing for time, I took a slow sip of coffee. Knowing I would have to explain my horribly embarrassing question, I started blushing slightly. "You were great," I started, hoping to mollify him. "But sometimes you were just so…" I cringed mentally, but knew I needed to just be a grown-up and say it, "…sexual," I whispered.

His expression softened and then he laughed for what felt like five minutes.

Irritation flared in me full force. I wasn't trying to be funny and I was getting really embarrassed, not to mention uncomfortable. Why did I have to open my big mouth? I stared down into my coffee cup, wanting to crawl inside it and disappear.

He finally noticed my expression had changed and worked at regaining his composure. "Sorry….It's just, that's not what I thought you were going to say." I wondered for a moment what he had expected me to say and looked back up at him. Still slightly chuckling, he thought for a moment. "I don't know. People just tend to respond to it." He shrugged his shoulders.

By "people", I inferred that he meant women.

"Did I offend you?" he asked, with a twinkle in his eye.

Great, now he thought I was this prudish person who couldn't handle him. "Nooo." I overly stressed the word and glared at him a little. "It just seemed excessive. Besides, you don't need it…your songs are great."

He seemed a little taken aback by that. He sat back in his chair and watched me in a way that was making my heart beat quicker. Seriously, he was just absurdly good-looking. I looked down at the table uncomfortably.

"Thank you. I'll try to keep that in mind." I looked back up at him again. He was smiling softly at me and he did seem to genuinely mean it. Changing topics, he asked me, "How did you and Denny meet?"

I smiled as I remembered it. "College. He was a T.A. in one of my classes. It was my first year, his third. I thought he was the most beautiful person I had ever seen." I blushed a little bit over calling him beautiful out loud, and, to a guy. I generally tried to not use that word in everyday conversation. People tended to look at me funny. Kellan was just smiling peacefully at me however. I suppose he was used to hearing a wide variety of glowing adjectives.

"Anyway, we just hit it off and have been together ever since." I couldn't help but smile at the flood of memories we had together. "What about you? How did you meet Denny?" I knew the basics of the story, but not much more.

He thought a moment, a smile on his lips that matched mine. "Well, my parents thought it would be good idea to host an exchange student. I think their friends were impressed with that…" His smile faded a bit before instantly returning. "But, Denny and I hit it off right away too. He's a cool guy."

He turned his face away and a look passed over him that I couldn't comprehend…almost grief. "I owe him a lot," he said softly. He turned back to me, his charming grin back in place, and shrugged. "Anyway, I'd do anything for the guy, so when he called and said he needed a place to stay, it was the least I could do."

"Oh." I was curious about his sudden sadness, but he seemed back to normal now and I didn't want to press him. Anyway, Denny came back into the kitchen at that point.

He looked very apologetic. "Sorry, all I could find were these." He held up a bag of Cheetos and a bag of pretzels.

Kellan laughed softly while I held my hand out and gave Denny a sweet smile. "Cheetos, please." Denny frowned, but gave them to me and Kellan laughed harder.

We finished our "nutritious" breakfast and then I called my parents (collect, no less) to let them know we were here and we were safe. Denny and Kellan caught up on their years apart while I chatted with my family. The only phone in the house was an olive-green, corded, seventies-looking contraption in the kitchen, and Denny and Kellan's stories were getting louder and funnier as they sat at the table and reminisced. I had to glare over at them a couple of times, non-verbally asking them to be quiet so I could hear my parents. Of course, they thought that was hilarious, and it only seemed to make them laugh even louder, so eventually, I turned my back on them and ignored their happy conversation. It wasn't as if my mom and dad were saying anything other than, "Ready to come home now?" anyway.

After my too-long conversation, Denny and I headed back upstairs. He quickly showered while I rummaged through his bag for some clothes. Choosing his favorite, faded blue jeans and a light beige Henley shirt for him, I started setting out the rest of our things on the bed.

The person who had rented this room before us had been kind enough, that they had left the bed (sheets and all), a dresser, a small television and a nightstand, complete with an alarm clock. I wasn't sure why, but I was extremely grateful, since Denny and I had absolutely no furniture. In Athens, we had lived with our relatives to save on cash. I had tried on numerous occasions to get Denny into an apartment of our own, but, ever the money-savvy one, he hadn't seen the logic in wasting all that cash when our families were only a few minutes from school. In my head, I had a very long list of reasons why…most involving a bed, sheets and all.

And of course my parents, although they adored him, weren't keen on him moving into my bedroom. They hadn't even been okay with me moving into his Aunt's place, and since they were paying for my pricey education, I hadn't pressed the issue too far. But now we sort of had to live together to save on money, so I guess, in the end, I had won the argument. I smiled at that thought as I began putting our clothes into the small, double dresser - his on one side, mine on the other. We didn't have a whole lot of clothes, and I was done by the time Denny came back from his shower.

Seeing him wrapped only in a towel, pleased me greatly, and I sat on the bed with my arms around my legs, head resting on my knees, to watch him get dressed. He laughed at my rapt attention, but was comfortable enough that he had no problems dropping his towel and dressing. I would have made him turn around, or close his eyes or something, if our roles had been reversed.

Once finished, he sat on the bed beside me. I couldn't resist running my fingers through his damp hair, rustling it around a little bit, and styling chunky pieces. He waited patiently, a warm glow in his eyes, a soft smile on his lips.

When it appeared that I was contently finished, he kissed me on the forehead and we made our way back downstairs to get the rest of our boxes from the car. It only took two trips - we really didn't have a whole lot of stuff. We were however, apparently completely out of food. We put the boxes on our bed and decided to brave our way through the city streets in a quest for sustenance. Denny had lived here for an entire year, but that had been several years ago, and he hadn't been driving then, so we got some directions from Kellan and made our attempt.

We easily made our way down to the pier and Pike Place market to look around and get some fresh food. It truly was a beautiful city. We strolled hand in hand down the pier, watching the sunlight sparkle off the Sound. It was a warm, clear day and we stopped and watched the ferries shuttle back and forth, and the seagulls fly low over the water, like us, also scrounging for food. A light, cool breeze brought the smell of salt water with it and I leaned my head back on Denny's chest as he wrapped his arms around me, perfectly content.

"Happy?" he asked me, rubbing his jaw along my neck, the light hair along it making me giggle.

"Deliriously," I answered, turning my head to give him a soft kiss.

We did all the touristy things in the area - went through all the quaint shops, listened to the street musicians, sat on a cute little merry-go-round, and watched the fish mongers chuck huge salmon to each other while the packed crowd cheered. Eventually we picked up some fresh fruits, vegetables, and other edibles, and made our way back to the car.

One unfortunate thing about Seattle, that was quickly apparent to us on the drive home, was the roller-coaster steep hills, and trying to drive a stick shift on them. By the third near accidental rear-ending, we were both laughing so hard that I couldn't stop the tears. Only getting lost twice, we eventually made it back home in one piece.

We were still laughing about our little adventure as we walked back into the kitchen, carrying a couple canvas bags of groceries. Kellan looked up at us from where he was sitting at the table, writing notes on a spiral pad of paper. Lyrics maybe? He gave us an amused grin and went back to his work.

Denny put our food away, while I began sorting through our few boxes of stuff upstairs. It went pretty quickly. Knowing we weren't moving into a huge place, we had only brought the essentials with us, leaving the majority of the stuff that a person accumulates over any given period of time, in my mom's attic. It didn't take nearly as long as I thought it would, before I had put away all of our books, Denny's work clothes, my school stuff, and a few pictures and other mementoes. I finished up by putting our toiletries in the bathroom; our dollar store shampoo next to Kellan's expensive stuff, making me smile. Then, I was done.

Heading back downstairs, I turned into the living room to find Kellan and Denny watching ESPN. The space was as barely decorated as the rest of the house; I really was going to have to do something about that soon. It pretty much consisted of a large TV against the back wall, next to a slider that led out to the backyard. A long, ratty looking couch took up the far wall, with a seemingly comfy looking chair kitty-corner to it, and a round table with an old lamp on it, was tucked between the two. Kellan appeared to live as simply as he dressed.

Denny was sprawled across the long couch, looking like he may fall asleep at any moment; he probably was still dreadfully tired. I was beginning to feel the long trip (combined with walking around the pier all afternoon) catch up with me as well, so I walked over to Denny and crawled on top of him. He shifted so I could sink in-between him and the couch, my leg over his, my arm across his chest and my head nestled in his shoulder. He sighed contently and pulled me tight, kissing my head softly. His heartbeat was slow and steady, and was gently pulling me into sleep. Before I closed my eyes, I glanced over at Kellan who was sitting in the chair. He seemed to be watching us curiously. I could do no more than wonder about it, before my eyes slipped closed and sleep washed over me.

I woke up awhile later when Denny shifted beneath me. "Sorry, I didn't mean to wake you," he said, his accent warm and delightful around the words.

Stretching luxuriously, I yawned and pushed myself up a little, to look at his face. "It's okay," I mumbled, kissing him lightly. "I suppose I should wake up anyway, if I ever want to sleep tonight." I looked around but we were alone in the room.


The thought made me instantly aware of how close Denny and I were snuggling on the couch. Grinning mischievously, I kissed him again, but harder. He laughed a little, but kissed me back eagerly. It didn't take long for my breath to quicken, my heart following. Desire filled me for this warm, beautiful man beneath me, and I ran my fingers down his chest and slipped them under his shirt, to feel his smooth skin.

He reacted by gripping my hips with his strong hands and shifting me over, until I was more directly on top of him. I sighed happily and pressed into him. Somewhere in the corner of my mind, I registered a door closing, but Denny's hands pulling me even harder against him, quickly drove any other thought from my head.

I was happily kissing his jaw and moving to his neck, when a faint, amused chuckle woke me from my reveling. I sat bolt upright on Denny's lap, causing him to grunt in surprise. I hadn't realized Kellan was still here, and I was pretty sure the color on my cheeks made that painfully obvious to him.

"Sorry." He was laughing a little harder now. He was standing in the entryway, grabbing his jacket from a hook by the front door. "I'll be out of your hair in a minute…if you want to wait." He seemed to ponder that for a moment. "Or don't. It really doesn't bother me." He shrugged, still chuckling.

It bothered me. I immediately flew to the other side of the couch, too embarrassed to say anything. I looked over at Denny, hoping he could somehow rewind time a few minutes. He just laid there, an amused smile on his face as well now. Irritation flowed through me – men!

Needing to change the focus somehow, I blurted out, "Where are you going?" It came out more harshly than I meant it, but it was too late to change that.

He blinked at me, a little surprised from the angry outburst. I got the feeling we really could have been having sex on the couch and he wouldn't have cared. Apparently he was very open about that sort of thing. He probably had only meant to tease me, not embarrass me. My irritation cooled slightly.

"Pete's. We've got another gig there tonight."

"Oh." Now that I was paying more attention to anything but my mortification, he did seem dressed differently than this morning - a brilliant red, long-sleeved shirt and perfectly faded blue jeans. He looked freshly washed too, his hair fabulously messy, but still slightly damp. He looked the rock god that I remembered from the night before.

"Do you guys want to go…" he paused, then grinned devilishly, "or stay here?"

I blurted out, more from remembered embarrassment and irritation, than any real desire, "No, we'll go. Sure."

Denny blinked at me in confusion, and what looked a little like disappointment. "Really?"

Trying to find a way to recover from my unthinking pronouncement, I came up with, "Yeah, they sounded really good last night. I was hoping to hear a little more."

Denny slowly sat up on the couch. "All right. I'll get my keys."

Kellan shook his head at me slightly, an amused grin on his face. "Okay, I'll see you there then."

On the car ride there, I tried to cover my earlier embarrassment by asking Denny about the odd conversation in the kitchen with Kellan. I looked over at him. "Kellan seems…nice?" I didn't mean for it to come out like a question, but it kind of did.

He looked across at me "No, he is. You kind of have to get used to him. He can seem like a real figjam, but he's a really great guy."

I raised my eyebrow at his weird Australian slang and smiled, waiting for him to explain. Every once in awhile, he would throw words out at me that I had no idea what they meant. He smiled, knowing what I was waiting for. "Fuck I'm Good, Just Ask Me," he explained.

I blushed a little, thinking I preferred the shortened version, and then laughed. "You never really talked about him before. I hadn't realized you guys were so close." I tried to think back over the few times he had mentioned his friend in Washington, but nothing jumped out in my head.

He looked back to the road and shrugged. "I guess we kind of lost contact when I went back home. I talked with him once or twice when I came back to the States…but we never really kept in touch. Busy, you know."

Puzzled I said, "I got the feeling from him that you were closer. He kind of seems to love you?" I felt a little weird saying that; guys weren't usually so blunt with their feelings. It wasn't as if Kellan had been writing him sonnets or anything, it was just a feeling I got from him. His comment of "owing Denny" and "doing anything for him" - in the guy-verse, that equated love.

Denny seemed to understand what I was talking about and looked down for a second, a little embarrassed. "It's nothing. I don't know why he makes such a fuss over it. Really, it was no big deal." He looked back to the road, biting his lip.

Insanely curious now, I asked, "What?"

He paused, like he'd rather not tell me, but of course, he eventually did. "Well, you know I lived with him and his parents for a year?"

"Yeah," I said, puzzled as to where he was going with this.

"Well, he and his dad had a…strained relationship, I guess you could say. Anyway, one day his dad took it too far, knocked him around a little. I didn't really think about it, I just wanted it to stop. I guess I kind of stepped in front of him, took a blow for him." He looked over at my reaction for a second, before turning back to his driving.

I stared at him, shocked. I hadn't heard this story before. It sounded exactly like something Denny would do though. My heart squeezed a little for Kellan…

He shook his head, his brow creased. "That seemed to wake his dad up a little. He didn't bother him again while I was there." He lightly shook his head. "I don't know about after though…" Looking over at me, he gave me his goofy grin. "Anyway, Kellan just kind of felt…like we were more a family than his real family after that." He laughed and looked back to the road. "I think he's more thrilled that I'm back, than I am."

When we arrived at the bar, Kellan was already there, sitting with his three other band mates at a table in the back near the stage. He was sitting on the end, looking relaxed and comfortable, one foot propped on his knee and sipping a beer. To his left, was the longer-haired blonde that I remembered as the bassist. Across from him, was the teddy-bear drummer that I'd hoped was our new roommate, and finishing the circle, to the drummer's left, was the last member of the group, the other blonde guitarist. I was a little surprised that they weren't hidden away somewhere, getting ready to play. But they looked completely confident that they were going to be great, and were simply relaxing with a few beers before going up there.

Two women sitting at the table across from them were openly watching their every move. One was clearly gaping at Kellan. She looked drunk enough, and intrigued enough, that I thought at any moment she was going to lunge herself across the aisle and plop right down in his lap. While Kellan paid her absolutely no attention, I wasn't sure if he wouldn't mind if she decided to do just that.

Kellan's attention however was currently being held by the bassist sitting next to him. From the door I couldn't tell what they were talking about, but all of the guys were listening to his story with smiles on their faces.

Denny noticed them as well and turning to smile at me, he started leading us over to their table. As we got close enough to hear the bassist's words, I decided that coming here was a bad idea, and wished that I had kept my mouth shut and we were warm and comfortable, snuggling on the couch again. Denny was pulling me steadily forward though, so I glumly followed.

"…this girl, damn, she had the best rack I've ever seen." The bassist paused to make a crude gesture with his hands…as if the guys would need that statement clarified. "And the shortest skirt too. Everybody around us was completely wasted, so I ducked under the table and shoved that skirt as high as it would go. Then I grabbed my beer bottle and stuck…"

Kellan smacked him on the chest, noticing Denny's and my arrival. We stopped at the end of the table before him, Denny chuckling a little. I was sure I was blushing, and tried to keep my face as smooth as possible.

"Dude…I'm getting to the good part, hold on." The bassist look mildly confused.

"Griff…" Kellan pointed over to me. "My new roommates are here."

He looked up to glance at Denny and me. "Oh yeah…roommates." He looked over at Kellan again. "I miss Joey, man…she was hot! Seriously, why did you have to tap that? Not that I blame you, but-"

He cut off as Kellan smacked him in the chest, even harder. Ignoring the bassist's irritation, Kellan pointed up to us. "Guys, this is my friend Denny and his girlfriend Kiera."

I tried to fix my face into a smile. I hadn't known why his old roommate had left, and I was a little shocked and, of course, still a little embarrassed at the crude conversation we'd walked into. Denny smiled and smoothly said, "Hello." I managed to mumble out a, "Hi."

"Hey." The bassist nodded his chin up in greeting. "Griffin." He eyed me up and down, making me extremely uncomfortable and I squeezed Denny's hand harder, moving slightly behind him.

His could-be twin across the table from Kellan, stuck his hand out in a more polite greeting. "Matt, Hi."

"The guitarist, right?" Denny asked him while he shook his hand. "You're really good!"

"Yeah, thanks, man." He seemed genuinely pleased that Denny had remembered what he played. Griffin however, snorted, and Matt threw him a look. "Oh, get over it, Griffin."

Griffin shot him a look right back. "All I'm saying, is that you totally messed up that last riff. I rock that song, I should totally play it."

Ignoring what sounded like an on-going argument, the big teddy-bear looking guy beside Matt stood up and extended his hand to us. "Evan, drummer. Nice to meet you."

We shook his hand while Kellan stood up. He walked across the aisle to the drunken women. I thought the one who had been gaping at him earlier might pass out at his nearness. He leaned over the back of her chair, brushed aside a lock of her hair and whispered something very closely in her ear. She nodded, flushing slightly, and then he stood, grabbing a couple of empty chairs beside them. The women were giggling like school girls as he walked away.

He set the chairs down for us at the end of the table, with a slight smile on his face. "Here, have a seat."

Feeling odd about that whole exchange, and not entirely comfortable with our new companions, I sat down with a small frown on my face. Kellan's smile widened. He seemed to really enjoy it when I was uncomfortable.

Griffin was turning his attention to Denny as we sat down. "What's your accent…you British?"

Denny smiled politely at him. "Australian."

Griffin nodded, like he knew that all along. "Ahhhh. Ahoy, mate."

Kellan and Evan laughed. Matt looked over at him like he was the world's biggest idiot. "Dude, he's Australian…not a pirate."

Griffin sniffed haughtily. "Whatever." He took a swig of his beer.

Laughing a little, Denny asked, "What's the name of your band anyway?"

Griffin chuckled while Kellan stated, "D-Bags."

I looked over at him incredulously and then smiled. "Seriously?"

Griffin surprisingly frowned a little. "They made me condense it, the pussies. I wanted the full thing. State it loud, state it proud!" He smacked the table.

Matt rolled his eyes. "If we ever want to play somewhere bigger than Pete's, then we need a name they can put on the marquee." At least one of them seemed to have goals for a bigger future.

Griffin shot an irritated look over to Matt, while Kellan and Evan chuckled. "Dude, I made t-shirts..."

"No one is stopping you from wearing them," Matt muttered, rolling his eyes again.

Kellan and Evan laughed harder, and even Denny chuckled a little. I couldn't help but smile at them. "Are you guys brothers?"

Griffin looked at me in horror. "Absolutely not!"

Surprised, I looked back at Matt and then to him again. They really could have been twins. "Oh, sorry it's just you look so…"

"We're cousins," Matt explained. "Our dad's are twins, so the resemblance is…unfortunate." He frowned.

Griffin snorted again. "Unfortunate for you…that I'm hotter." The rest of the guys at the table laughed while Matt rolled his eyes again.

Abruptly, Kellan lifted two fingers in the air and nodding his chin up, motioned the fingers down at Denny and me. I looked across the room to where he was focused. An older woman, who smiled at him oddly, was running the bar at the far end of the long room. She seemed to know exactly what he meant, and handed two beer bottles to a waitress, pointing her in our direction.

I looked back over at Kellan, but he was already talking with Denny about Denny's new job position. Kellan was curious about what an internship in advertising entailed. Having heard the story a million times before, I tuned it out and took a look around the bar.

Pete's was warm and comfortable looking. The floors were oak and worn with years of use. The walls were a pleasant cream and red with nearly every square inch covered with signs of various brands of beers. Dozens of tables, in varying sizes and styles, dotted the wooden floor, crammed packed where they could fit, except for a twenty foot area in front of the stage that took up one of the shorter walls.

The stage was oak as well, the wall behind it painted black, and covered with hanging guitars in different styles and colors. Huge speakers sat on either side of the stage, pointing out towards the crowd. The lights above the stage were currently off and the microphones, guitars, and drums sat on the darkened stage, waiting for their owners.

I looked over to the other side of the large rectangular room while the guys chatted around me. The other short wall was one long bar. The mirror behind the bar was lined with shelves, all filled with every bottle of liquor you could imagine. The bartender was now busy filling drinks for the crowd starting to pour in from the double doors along the front wall. Large windows dotted that wall, letting in the glow of the various neon bar signs.

A pretty, blonde waitress approached, and handed Denny and me our beers. We thanked her and Kellan gave her a friendly nod, which made me curious for a second. The waitress only smiled politely at him however, so I figured they were just friends.

I sipped my beer and watched the waitress walk through some double doors on the other long wall of the bar. I could see steel and movement, and hear the clatter of food being prepared. That must be the kitchen. A large archway, not far from the kitchen doors, led to a decent sized room that appeared to have a couple pool tables in it. Continuing down the rest of the wall, I noticed a hallway close to the stage that receded around a corner, signs above it indicating that restrooms were in that direction.

As I was looking at the hallway, my eyesight came across the two women who had been watching the guys earlier. Denny and I were now partially blocking their view, sitting on the end of the table as we were. The one who openly wanted Kellan did not look happy that I was sitting right next to him. In fact, she looked downright pissed. I quickly turned back around.

I felt someone approaching me from behind then, and for a moment, I worried that the woman was going to try and start something with me. My body involuntarily tensed as I looked over my shoulder. I sighed softly with relief at the sight of an older man approaching our table.

He was dressed nicely, in khaki slacks and a red collared shirt with the name of the bar in the upper corner. He looked to be in his mid-fifties with graying hair and a weathered face. He did not currently look happy at all.

"Guys ready? You're up in five," he sighed heavily.

"You alright, Pete?" Kellan asked him, frowning a little.

I blinked. Pete must be the owner of Pete's. How cute.

"No…Traci quit over the phone, she's not coming back. I had to have Kate pull a double, so we were covered tonight." He glared, rather angrily, at Kellan. That made me curious, until I remembered that the ex-roommate, Joey, had left abruptly because of Kellan. Maybe it was a pattern with him?

Kellan in turn, glared over at Griffin. He looked a little sheepish and took a long swig of his beer before muttering, "Sorry, Pete."

Pete sighed and shook his head. I guess there were just some risks that Pete was accustomed to involving his entertainment. Surprising myself I said, "I was a waitress. I need to get a job, and working nights would be perfect when school starts."

Pete looked over at me curiously and then back to Kellan. Kellan smiled and pointed to us with his bottle in turn. "Pete, these are my new roommates, Denny, Kiera."

Pete nodded and looked me over. "You twenty-one?"

I smiled nervously. "Yeah, since May." I wondered briefly what he would do if I said 'no' while sipping on a beer?

He nodded again. "All right. I could use the help soon though. Can you start Monday, six pm?"

I looked over at Denny, wondering if I should have talked this over with him first. With his internship during the day, nights would be all we had together. He was smiling at me though, and nodded near imperceptibly.

"Yeah, that would be fine. Thank you," I said quietly. And just like that, one full day being in this new city, I had a job.