“What’s this?”

He laughed, “We’ve been living together for a month, no fights, no sex, no problems. It deserves pie.”

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I scowled, “Do you have an inner filter?”

A devious smile crossed his lips, “Nope.” He took the first bite.

I dug in where he’d taken his bite.

The coconut-cream pie melted in my mouth. Even with my lips covered in whipped cream and my mouth full, I spoke, “Is that real whipped cream?”

He nodded slowly, “From this seedy, little place in the industrial section. I was going to bring you there, ‘cause I heard about the pie, but when I got there, I knew you wouldn’t eat there.”

I frowned, “I’m not a snob.”

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He rolled his eyes, “I know. You’re a princess.”

I took a second bite, “You’re a princess.”

He laughed and ate a huge bite, “Ohhhhh my God.” He licked his lips and I looked back at the pie. Some things were safer not to watch. I hadn’t been to a show, since the first one. That was also better not to watch. Seeing him so alive made me hot. I clearly had issues with sexy boys and self-control.

I arched an eyebrow, “So I Googled you.”

He snorted, “‘Bout time.” I loved the sarcasm in his voice; he could really care less about the fame, when it was just the two of us. It was part of the show for him.

I bit my lip and then went for it, “I saw the articles about you getting kicked off the show.”

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His bright-blue eyes lifted to mine but his look turned stern like his tone, “Drop it.” The tone wasn’t playful.

It made me smile nervously, “No.”

He gave me a stern look, “You wanna talk about your ex-boyfriends some more?”

I swallowed, the humor left me.

He pointed his fork, “This topic is like that for me.”

I took another bite, “Fair enough.” I ate the bite but I couldn’t do it. I didn’t feel like eating anymore. I dropped my fork, “Thanks for the pie.”

He grabbed my hand, “Don’t be mad.”

I looked up into his eyes, “Your expressions are so weird sometimes. You can darken your face, I swear it.”

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He laughed, “Your brother coming still?” He was always ignoring the things he didn’t want to hear.

I snapped back and stopped staring at his face, “What?”

“Brother?”

I smiled and forgot about the forbidden conversations, “Yeah. Tomorrow.”

“Sweet.”

I shrugged, “Maybe. He’s a hot mess. He’s really artistic and messy, and one minute he has a job, and then he doesn’t. My parents go insane with him. You guys will for sure hit it off.”

I realized what I’d said when he gave me his blank stare. I laughed, “I’m on a roll today.”

He shook his head, “I gotta go rehearse, try not to get into trouble.”

I stuck my tongue out at him and pulled my headphones back on.

That night I was studying when he came in late. I looked up smiling and focused on our friend zone, “How was the show?”

He sat down next to me on the couch, “It was great. I heard afterward, some big wig was coming to see us play. We might have competing offers. I frowned, “What? Congrat…”

He put a finger up to my lips, “Shhh. Not yet. Nothing to get excited about yet.”

His finger stayed there for a minute and then ran down my jaw. He leaned forward and lightly brushed his lips against mine. He pulled back. There was something in his eyes, “Sorry.”

I shook my head, “Don’t be.”

He arched an eyebrow, like he was questioning the fact I’d given him permission. He leaned in again, lightly brushing his lips on mine. “God damned you are sweet,” he whispered into my mouth and got up from the couch. I sat there frozen for a few minutes, still tasting the kiss that wasn’t nearly awkward enough.

The next day he drove me to the airport to pick up Danny. We didn’t talk about the kiss. He was fun and playful. He cranked the car stereo and sang as loud as he could. We pulled up at a light and some girls looked over at him and started screaming. He waved at them and sang louder. I tried to only hear the radio but it was impossible. It was an amazing performance for a car ride. He beamed at me from behind his sunglasses and messy hair.

I almost ran when we got to the airport. I needed to be away from him. When I looked back at him, I smiled at the fact he was still wearing his sunglasses. His fame situation wasn’t getting better. He stood, looking like Lochlan Barlow, but in sunglasses. He needed the Mitch Pitt beard and homeless apparel. Girls pointed and swooned. I nudged him, “You’re not fun to take out of the house anymore.”

He gave me his one-sided grin, “You’ve never been fun to take out of the house.”

I laughed, “Ass.”

Danny came walking down the ramp. He looked the same, thick and handsome but disheveled. His dark-blonde hair was cut into the same fohawk as Lochlan’s. It even hung in the back, almost like a mullet. His jeans were tight and his tee shirt was wrinkled. He stopped, grinning and shaking his head. His bright-green eyes twinkled, the way they always did. He was the most joyous person I knew, “Lochlan Barlow is your roommate?”

I looked between them, “What?”

Danny put his hand out for Lochlan. They shook hands. I sighed, “Danny—Lochlan. Let’s go before we get mobbed, like we have one of the Beatles with us.”

Danny wrapped a thick arm around me, “You have better than the Beatles, dude. Only you would fail to mention, you were shacked up with a celebrity.”

I gave him a look, “There’s no shacking.”

Lochlan chuckled, “She didn’t know who I was for like weeks.”

Danny sighed, “I’m ashamed of you.”

My mouth hung open, “What?”

He shook his head, “You are shamed.”

I rolled my eyes, “Whatever.”

Lochlan laughed and nodded at Danny, “You should come to the bar tonight. We’re playing at the nice one. Our Fridays are the best bar we play.”

Danny gave me a look. I agreed, dreading the words about to leave my lips, “Yeah.” Shit.

They nattered at each other about music and dudes. I didn’t know anything they were talking about.

I walked behind them, stunned by the instant bromance going on. Lochlan seemed more into my brother, than Danny was to him. That lasted until Lochlan went to the bedroom to get something when we got home, and Danny started silent screaming and mouthing things. I didn’t know what he was going on about, but I had to assume it was like a little girl seeing Justin Bieber for the first time.

I sighed and drank from the orange juice carton. When Lochlan came back around the corner with a tee shirt for him, Danny played it cool again. I snorted at the two of them. Lochlan gave me a look and walked into the kitchen. He took the carton from my hands and drank the rest. I tried not to watch him drink, or eat, or sing, so I went to the couch and read a book.

They flirted and chatted for hours. It was sort of good. I read and did my homework.

The romance novels were making my attraction for him worse, so I grabbed the newest James Rollins, instead of romance. I finished it off in the tub and got out to get ready. I didn’t bother straightening my hair. A bar in the humidity of early fall in Boston was a death trap for straight hair. I hadn’t worn it curly since the night we’d made fools of ourselves. I looked at myself and smiled. Barely there makeup, a plain blue tee shirt and a pair of linen pants. I looked like I was trying to be casual. He wouldn’t even notice me compared to the girls in the bar.

I walked into the kitchen to find them eating Chinese food and listening to some old song. Danny pointed, “You hear the break? So classic.”

I was getting annoyed, Danny had barely spoken to me. I walked behind the island to see Lochlan filling a plate and listening to the song. He passed me the plate and a fork. I scowled, “I don’t like it when you…”

He put a hand up, silencing me. Danny shushed me.

I nodded, chuckling and leaned against the counter, “Screw you both.”

They ignored me. The song ended. Lochlan smiled, “You know what, you’re totally right. The way he gave the pause after the break was dramatic. I felt my heartbeat pause, waiting for it.”

Danny pointed, “I know, right.” He gave me a look, “How was the tub?”

I flipped him off, taking a huge bite.

He leaned forward, kissing the top of my head, “I missed you.”

Lochlan looked at his fat leather watch that looked like more of a cuff than a watch, “I gotta go. Come at ten.”

I nodded, looking as disinterested as I could.

He flashed me a grin and walked out.

Danny waited for the door to close and then the girlfriend gushing started, “Oh man. He’s so cool. You’re rooming with him? He’s like rich. He doesn’t even need a roommate… you fucking him and not telling me?”

I choked on my noodles, coughing. He grabbed me a drink of water and passed it to me. I coughed again, “No.”

He looked confused, “Why’s he rooming with you? Didn’t they ever find you guys another place?”

I shook my head, “I don’t know. We just agreed this was better.”

He nodded, “Oh man, please don’t blow this. I always wanted a rock star brother and a brother-in-law is just as good.”

A sickened expression covered my face, “Dude.”

He gave me the puppy dog look, “Please.”

I sneered, “You’re a psycho. This isn’t a third world country. You can’t just give me away to the guy you like the best.”

He folded his arms, “I’ll call Dad.”

“Go ahead.”

He smirked, “He’s a huge Lochlan fan.”

I sighed, “Great. Please don’t tell him. I don’t want him to come here and embarrass me too.”

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