Ashton was on the far side of the room, opposite of the dance floor, sitting on a stool. There were girls sitting on either side of him, and even more standing around him. He wasn't paying them any attention at all, but they didn't seem to notice. Instead, he was drinking from his bottle of beer while looking directly at me. He didn't acknowledge me, though. Like, he didn't wave or smile or anything. He just stared. Every few seconds I noticed he'd nod, probably pretending he was listening to his company. But his face was expressionless. I wasn't even sure he was glad to see me, even though he'd made me promise I'd be there.
Traci and I made an attempt to blend in. We didn't head directly to any of the band members. Rather, we headed straight to the bar. We got a shot to start with and our favorite, Malibu and Sprite, to follow up.
We stood around for a minute and Traci asked, "Do you see her?"
I hadn't even thought about Natalie being there. That could put a damper on things. I looked around, but I didn't see her either. "No, I don't see her. Maybe she's not coming. Calum told you they don't hang out in public, right? Plus, if he invited you, I'd say that's because he knew she wouldn't be here."
"Yeah, but it's kind of her band's party, too. That guitar player is over there. Anyway, let's hope it stays this way. Come on."
We casually strolled past Luke and Calum, trying to look more confident than we felt. I tried hard to not look at them, even though I really wanted to finally meet Luke. But I figured surely at some point that night I'd get the opportunity. And I was right.
We'd no sooner sat down at a table than Luke approached us. He looked directly at Traci and said, "Hi. I believe I saw you at the show tonight."
She answered casually, "Yeah, you did. You gave me a pick, actually."
Luke nodded and said, "I thought so." He nodded some more, a little awkwardly like he wasn't sure where to go with the conversation.
I took the opportunity to introduce myself, even though he didn't even seem to know I was there. "Hi, Luke. I'm Aubree, or Bree, whichever." I even held out my hand for him to shake, which he did.
"Hello, Bree. Nice to meet you. And you are?" he asked Traci, holding out his hand to her.
"That would be Traci," Calum answered from behind Luke.
Luke looked back at Calum, then again at Traci. "Ahh, Traci. It's nice to meet you, too. Wait." He looked at Calum again. "You know her?"
Calum nodded with a tight smile, then answered, "Yep. I know her."
Luke put the puzzle pieces together. "Oh, I see. Well then, back to the drawing board," he said barely audible enough to hear, then he excused himself and went back to the girls by the bar. The three of us had a good laugh at his expense. But fuck yeah, we'd finally met four out of four. Mission complete.
Calum sat down with us, and the longer he sat there, the more girls gathered around our little table. I kept looking for Natalie, but I never did see her. I thought that was odd, but it worked out well for Traci. One girl invited herself to sit down in the lone empty chair. She apparently had no shame.
I'd glance at Ashton now and then. Sometimes he was also looking at me, and other times he wasn't. But he hadn't moved from his spot. I thought about approaching him, but the way he was acting, I assumed he didn't want me to. I hoped he was just taking me seriously about saying that it wouldn't be good for us to be seen with each other in public.
After a while, I got up to get us some more drinks. The girl who had sat down with us told me to get her a beer. Told me, not asked. I'm pretty sure I rolled my eyes at her, but if she noticed, she didn't say anything.
While I was waiting in line at the bar, Michael approached me. "Bree! What's up, friend?"
"Hey, Mikey." I hugged him and he squeezed me back, and even picked me up off the floor.
He checked out my choice of outfit and remarked, "You look good."
"Thanks," was all I could muster. Stupid compliments.
"So, it looks like this line is a little long. How about you say fuck it, and come dance with me?"
I wasn't nearly as lit as I like to be before taking to the dance floor. But I wasn't going to turn him down. "Well, Traci and Cal are expecting me to come back with their drinks, but..."
Michael motioned for me to stay put, and he walked behind the bar and spoke to the bartender. While I waited, I looked over in Ashton's direction, to find that he was no longer there. I looked around, but didn't see him anywhere.
When Michael came back, he had a shot glass filled with what appeared to be whiskey in each hand. He handed one to me and said, "Here ya go. Don't worry about the others. It's taken care of. Bottoms up." We clinked them together, and when the burning liquid was gone, he took both empty glasses and sat them on the closest table. "Let's go."
As luck would have it, one of my favorite songs to dance to came on at the very moment we reached the dance area: California Love by Tupac. It was meant to be. I decided at that moment to let loose and fuck being embarrassed. I loved to dance, and truth be told, I always thought it was one thing I was decent at.
Michael was a little awkward, to be honest, which made me want to get closer and take control. Michael didn't seem to mind. By the third song in, I was really starting to feel the effects of the alcohol. And drunk Bree equals flirty dancing Bree. I didn't mean any of it personally, I was just having a good time. And Michael appeared to be enjoying it, so I gave it all I had.
I'd all but forgotten that we weren't the only two people in the room when another favorite song came on. It was Closer by Nine Inch Nails. It doesn't get much sexier than that. Hell, that song basically is sex. I grabbed onto Michael's shirt, threw my head back and yelled, "Fuck yes!" when those first notes played.
"Oh Hell, no!" Ashton shouted from behind me.
I let go of Michael and turned to face him. "What the fuck do you mean?!"
"This one's mine, Michael," Ashton said loud enough for Michael to hear him over the music, dismissing him.
I looked back at Michael. He gave Ashton a look of annoyance and saluted him before walking away. "That wasn't very nice," I playfully scolded Ashton.
"You know what else isn't very nice?" He pulled our hips flush and started to move in time with the music. His rhythm was slightly better than Michael's. Well, after all, he is a drummer.
I wrapped my arms around his neck and joined in the dancing, if you want to call it that. We were barely moving, really. "What's not nice?"
He leaned down so that his lips were practically touching my ear. His hot breath gave me goosebumps. "Me having to watch you and Michael practically dry humping for the past half hour. Do you have any idea what that's done to me?"
I hoped I was interpreting the meaning of his words correctly when I answered, "Does it have you feeling some type of way?" I bit down on my lip and danced more suggestively. Yay for alcohol.
He moved his hands lower so they were nearly on my butt, and he squeezed rather hard. "Are you attracted to Michael?"
Oh boy, I thought. He's going to play the jealousy game again. "I think he's attractive, but you've known that from day one."
He leaned down closer and asked, "Do you want to fuck him?"
I was shocked that he asked so bluntly. But with him being in that weird mood again, there was no telling what he'd say or do, based on the last time. I answered, "No, not anymore."
"Why not? It sure looked like it to me."
I debated whether or not to say what I was thinking. But really, there was nothing to do but answer honestly. He'd basically said that I turned him on, so there was no reason for me to not go for it. If it ruined our friendship, I'd just have to live with it. "Because I want to fuck you."
He grinned, almost in an evil way. It was hot as Hell. Then he asked, "Really?"
The realization that I'd let those words come out of my mouth hit me and I couldn't breathe for a second. So I nodded to confirm that I indeed wanted to fuck him. And I froze altogether when he said, "Then let's get the fuck out of here."