Gray, sandy hills dotted by bright green bushes stretched all the way to the horizon. It was an interesting scenery. Provided you hadn’t been looking at it for the past two days straight. And if your vehicle actually had air-con. Sadly, adding air-con to a General Motors bus from the eighties would have far exceeded the tiny budget The Underdogs had gathered in order to transform the piece of junk into a mobile home for their first real tour of the country. The heat inside scorched brains, the beds were topped with secondhand mattresses which might have been as old as the bus itself, and the danger of engine failure always loomed somewhere at the back of their heads.
So far they’d made it in one piece, even though the closer they were to their home in California, the more difficult it was to cope with the cramped space, listening to each other’s snoring, and with the gig money constantly disappearing because of unplanned necessities. They would be lucky to finish the tour without any financial loss.
Dusk took a deep breath and got up from his narrow bed with a yawn. “Mage, you got some peanut butter?”
He made his way to the front of the bus where his best friend since high school sat next to Dusk’s brother at the dashboard of the slow-moving vehicle. Their drummer, Sid, was still snoring loudly in the back, and all Dusk wanted was some comfort food.
Mage let his long legs slide off the dashboard as he twisted in the seat to look back more comfortably. He shut the road map, which he insisted on using despite there being navigation systems in existence, and scooted down by the tiny camping fridge he used to keep the ‘healthy’ meals he ate along with Dawn, instead of the usual fare available at gas stations. As he leaned down, his thick dreadlocks trailed down his shoulder and obscured his face.
It took several seconds, but Dusk scowled the moment Mage looked back at him with a face that declared the inspection a failure.
“Sorry, man, I think we’ve run out.”
“We have almond,” Dawn said from behind the steering wheel, and his green eyes met Dusk’s briefly before he focused on the road again.
Dusk groaned loudly and hit the roof of the van. “Fuck almond. I wanted peanut. Can’t I just get what I want? Is there like a gas station anywhere around?” He rubbed his face to ease some of the puffiness that remained from sleep, but that only reminded him he hadn’t shaved in three days.
“We can’t all get what we want all the time. Your brother was driving while you rested, so stop being a baby,” Mage said, getting back to his seat.
Dawn opened his mouth, but before he could speak, Dusk grabbed the back of Mage’s chair and looked down on him. “I’m being a baby? Didn’t we change routes just yesterday because he really wanted to see the museum of space history?”
Dawn glanced back for half a second. “That was different. You don’t get that at every corn—”
Dusk slammed at the roof. “Fucking hell! Is it so much to ask? Some freaking peanut butter to start the day?”
Sid groaned from the back and peeked out from behind the makeshift curtain around his bed. After a whole night, his red mohawk was a sad flat mess hanging down the side of his skull. “What the fuck is this racket? What time is it?” he asked, stretching his long arms to reach the bag of necessities where he kept his cigarettes.
“Dusk needs peanut butter, and he’s throwing a tantrum because we’re out,” Mage said.
Sid chewed on that for a while. “I mean… I wouldn’t mind some peanut butter, to be honest.”
Dusk spread his arms. “See?”
“And a morning smoke without having to stick my head through the window,” Sid added.
Mage eventually slumped in the seat, giving up.
Dawn briefly rubbed his shoulder. “Actually, there was a sign a few minutes back. We should be approaching a gas station.”
Dusk fist-bumped Sid and ran to his bed at the very back, because his butt-long hair was his pride and joy, and he wouldn’t be caught dead with it looking shit.
The gas station emerged on the horizon like an oasis with the promise of a peanut butter brook to quench Dusk’s thirst. There were only two cars parked close to the white and blue building, and despite the plaster crumbling off it along with paint, it would provide shadow, refreshments, and even an opportunity to use the restroom in a separate little building.
Dawn parked the bus across from the little store and switched off the engine before reaching to the icebox to get some cool water.
Dusk swapped the loose-fitting T-shirt he slept in for a fresh one, pulled on jeans, added his studded belt, and he was off. “Don’t cry, Dawn, I’ll get you something!” he laughed on the way out.
The sun hit him like a red-hot hammer, and he squinted, rushing through the courtyard and into the shadow of the roof. His mouth was already smiling when he saw the logo of an ice cream manufacturer in the window. Since they’d already stopped, he might as well have something sweet to go with the savory. Or, possibly-maybe get peanut butter ice cream and win at breakfast?
The store greeted him with fresh, cool air that he inhaled with pleasure, delving between the shelves to find his prize. He could already see it from afar, next to a few jams, and coffee, and—who the fuck was that?
Dusk stopped breathing and just watched the dreamy, pink-haired creature move along the aisle, headbanging gently to music he was listening to through his mint-colored headphones. There was a lightness to his step, and Dusk followed the guy as if he were a rabbit leading Dusk to Wonderland.
The guy’s hair was styled into two thick, messy boxer braids tied with glittery bands. A pair of rollerblades swung from the guy’s large backpack. With each hypnotizing movement of slim hips clad in well-fitting denim shorts that ended just above the knees, Dusk was beckoned closer to the creature who was so at odds with the coarse surroundings, he must had stepped out of a fairytale and gotten lost in the New Mexican desert. His bare calves were nicely toned and dusted with blond hair, twitching slightly as the angel of a guy danced his way through the aisles.
He only stopped once he approached a newspaper stand and pulled out a music magazine. Leaning slightly against the wall, he finally allowed Dusk a good look on the profile of his boyish yet angular face. Working his way through the pages, he seemed completely immersed in his own little world.
One arm, tattooed in pastel-colored shapes that Dusk could not discern from afar, rose, and the guy pulled on a little white stick that peeked out of his mouth, revealing a shocking pink lollipop that he must have been sucking on all along.
Dusk licked his lips, wishing he could be that lollipop. He checked himself out in a mirror next to a stand with hats, just to make sure he didn’t have anything stuck to his face, and he moved closer to the pastel-hued poisonous butterfly. The guy was cute, colorful, but there was an edge to his look. His neck was inked, and his septum pierced. Oh, how Dusk craved to put his hand against the guy’s Adam’s apple.
He couldn’t recall the last time he was rendered speechless, since he was anything but shy. This guy though, casually sucking on a pink lollipop at this gas station in the middle of nowhere, was making Dusk’s throat dry, his palms sweat, and his dick beg for action.
Lolly blinked and gave a short laugh, staring at something in the magazine. Still gently moving his body to the music coming from his headphones, he rhythmically tapped the lollipop against his lips, only to greedily suck it back in. Every time he smiled, a little black star under his eye moved. At first Dusk had assumed it was painted-on, but as he stared more intently, he recognized it as a tattoo.
That was it. Dusk needed to get himself a piece of that.
He took a few steps closer and reached for a magazine off a shelf above Lolly’s head to get an opportunity to stretch in front of the guy, and when their eyes met, he smiled.
Lolly’s eyes were big and so blue they fit right in with his image. He leaned his head back to look at Dusk more comfortably and pushed the headphones to rest around his neck, revealing flesh plugs of the same minty color. Score.
He moved the lollipop in his mouth with his tongue so that the stick was at the side and wouldn’t prevent him from speaking. “What’s up?”
“What’s the flavor?” Dusk pointed to Lolly’s mouth. He bet it now tasted of wet hot sin.
Lolly pulled on the lollipop so that it slid halfway out of his mouth, only to suck it back in, loudly and without shame. “What flavor do you like?”
“I like fruity. And my manager only allows me one sweet thing a day, so I gotta choose wisely.” It was utter bullshit, but did it matter when their gazes met so intensely neither of them blinked? “Can I try yours to see if I wanna buy it?”
Lolly pulled on the stick, so tantalizingly slow, teasing Dusk with his blue eyes and long lashes, with his perfect tanned skin, with his toned arms that were tattooed into various landmarks and animals. Lolly was not only hot. He was desire.
“What do I get in return?”
Sink or swim. Dusk would either get a kick in the nuts or a laugh. He leaned down to whisper into Lolly’s ear. Worst case scenario, he could play it down into a joke and continue from there. “You give me something sweet, I give you something salty.”
Dusk’s skin tingled where they almost touched, and he closed his eyes when the soft, frizzy hair brushed against his cheek. Lolly smelled of something sweet, and yet a bit bitter, in a delicious masculine way that made Dusk want to savor him all the more. Cotton candy made of seaweed? No. That made no sense.
Lolly gave a short laugh, and his fingers briefly rubbed Dusk’s chest. “I’m intrigued.”
Dusk pulled back just enough to look into Lolly’s eyes, and the spot on Dusk’s chest where he’d been touched seemed to tingle as if invisible unicorns galloped along his pecs. How far could he push his luck? The guy wasn’t offended by the dirty joke. Sparks of attraction shone between them as if they’d been glitter bombed, and Dusk found it hard to focus on anything but the pretty lips and blue eyes.
“Intrigued enough to follow me outside and risk that I’m a total psycho serial killer?”
Lolly pulled the candy out of his mouth and slowly moved it along the pink line of his tempting lips, leaving behind a sticky sheen. “Maybe you could taste my lollipop in the restrooms?”
“Fuck yes…” Dusk thought it, but then realized he’d also said it out loud. Oh, who cared? His dick was already filling at the thought of all the things Dusk wanted to do with the sweet lips of this heavenly creature. Was the restroom here actually big enough to fuck in? It better be, because one way or another, he would be scoring soon.