Ann Arbor; September 2008
Darren wasn’t sure how he had ended up at this open mic night at all. There was tequila involved, perhaps, and definitely someone with a guitar that was easy enough to grab. And then someone mentioned a place where he could have the guitar and a mic and a stage and an audience, and, well. Irresistibility incarnate.
Performing drunk might be terribly unclassy, but it wasn’t as if the buzz of alcohol and the buzz from the attention of a rowdy crowd were that dissimilar. And, every once and a while, when classes were too much and the professors’ criticisms were especially sharp and he was grasping at why he loved acting and singing and creating at all, just letting go was invariably the best reminder.
Brian led him over to the sign-up sheet, where a bored girl with a nose ring took down his name and the song he was going to play (Dude, $20 says I can get these hipster kids dancing to Disney, it’s gonna be great, they’ll all roll their eyes but power of Mulan, yeah? Wins over the hearts of the most ironic of the skinny jeans. Darren, jeans don’t have hearts. They’re pants).
His back was turned to the makeshift stage when the speakers with the iPod deck start blasting a familiar beat. In the second it takes him to place the song, he whips around, and,
And the flesh machine
He's gonna do another striptease
Legs, he thinks dumbly. He’s the first to admit his brain might not be working on all cylinders because his thoughts just continue in disjointed fragments. She and growl and lips and that voice and this song and how does she sound how exactly how sex feels, and, finally, damnnnn.
'Cause of a lust for life
'Cause of a lust for life
Because there’s this girl on the stage and she’s screaming and belting this song out and she’s just might be the most gorgeous thing he’s ever seen, with hair wild and skin flushed, and she’s biting her lip and she’s not wearing pants.
OK, she’s in some sort of lacy stocking… things…. and she has some sort of bathing-suit-esque piece overtop, but (and the point bears repeating, Darren feels), no pants.
The song finally ends and, unbelievably, the girl glances over at him and smirks like she would actually notice someone like him, like she knows that just that smirk would make his cock jerk in his pants, and in what world is that even allowed?
Brian and Julia are smirking, too, at his slack-jawed face, and they should really just all go make t-shirts that say LET’S ALL MOCK DARREN, because god. Way to be supportive, guys.
Julia, apparently, finally manages to school her expression as she scans the room. “Oh, great, Charlene made it! So glad I still have the superpower of dragging ridiculous perfectionists away from their homework with only an unlimited texting plan and my persuasive wiles.” (You mean incessant chatter? Shut up, Brian. No one likes you).
“Darren, go say hi – I know your mother raised you to be polite,” Julia orders.
“Wha-? Oh, right, OK,” and Darren’s stumbling off, because Charlene’s possibly the sweetest person he’s ever met in his life and she won’t smirk at him, surely. He’s so focused on his goal that he doesn’t even notice that the girl is heading over in the same direction until he’s practically on top of them both.
Obviously, the only solution to this problem is to spin on his heel, attempt to make wobbling like a maniac look cool, and head back over to his friends. But Julia is still smirking at him and waggling her eyebrows in a way that clearly says Talk to her or I’m pouring beer on your guitar, Criss and he really, really needs to stop befriending actors who can communicate in full sentences with just their eyebrows.
When he turns back, Charlene is kissing the girl on the cheek and squeezing her arm like they’ve known each other forever, which, for all he knows, might be the truth.
“Good to know all that corporate shit hasn’t made you soft, jeeze. I’m woman enough to admit when I’m wrong – yeah, girl, you still got it,” Charlene gushes.
Darren just stares, trying to figure out a way to worm his way into the conversation, when No-Pants-Hot-Girl turns to him and says “You wanna introduce me to your friend? Way he keeps staring, I might have myself a new biggest fan.” He flushes deep, unsure if it’s a crack about height, but she has a definite twinkle in her eye that’s anything but malicious.
“Darren! Wear a bell next time, would you?” Charlene says, launching herself at him to hug. Disentangling, she attempts to make introduction. “Darren, Mia, Mia, Darren. Mia and I met in New York when I had that record company internship and she was working at the TV studio 5 floors up. Darren’s one of my classmates – acting major, singer, linguist, and resident studmuffin.”
Darren resists the urge to hide his face away – possibly forever – and instead holds out his hand for No-Pants-Hot-Mia to shake.
“New York, huh? What brings you to Michigan?”
“Road trip. I really needed to get the fuck away for a while, and somehow Charlene convinced me to come over to visit her cute schoolgirl ass. I can’t wait to get back, though – it’s easy enough to forget in the rush of things, but New York, you know? Greatest city in the world.”
Darren cocks his head to the side. “You really think so? I mean, just take… San Francisco, for example,” he attempts casually, ignoring the way Charlene’s beginning to roll her eyes at him, prepared for the rant to come. “People in New York always look so unhappy, with all the rushing around and none of the enjoyment of life at the moment. You should take your road trip to the Bay – and anyway, you haven’t partied until you’ve gotten drunk at the Sutro Baths and nearly died falling into the Pacific.”
“Yeah, I’m sure 24/7 fog and some wasted teenagers dancing on the remains of rich Victorian dudes is exactly the thing to cheer me out of my apparent New York-induced depression,” Mia remarks dryly. And god, she even knows her history, even from a city she doesn’t seem too fond of.
“It’s not 24/7. It’s just… nights and mornings. And it’s nice. Like, this blanket that just covers everything and makes it all … snuggly.”
Charlene raises her eyebrows. “That might just be the least impassioned defense of your hometown I’ve ever heard. You feeling OK?”
“Hey! Snugliness is important! And, admittedly, not a word, but the point still stands.”
“Well, whenever you want to crawl out from under your blanket and see what New York has to offer, let me know. I do enjoy a good ‘I told you so’ when people admit to their terrible ignorance.” Mia’s not smirking any more, but she is smiling and somewhat predatory and when did they just bottle up sex and pour it into a girl mold?
It’s dumb, but Darren will never forgive himself if he just lets this go without even trying. “Technically, Ann Arbor is closer to New York than San Fransisco. I might be willing to let you show me if they’re really anything New Yorkers have to offer, now.” It’s the absolute worst pick-up line ever and the logic doesn’t even make sense in his head, but he just hopes against hope that it’ll work.
“I’m already convinced that New York is the place to be, so I’ll just leave you two to it. Oh, look! Julia!” Charlene scurries off, unsuccessfully hiding her chuckles.
Mia stares at him levelly. Darren’s starting to think that this was all a horrible idea – she’s just going to laugh in his face and use him as a punch line when she tells all her super-cool trendy city friends about her road trip. But instead, she just asks, “What did you think of the song?”
It takes him a moment to process the non-sequitur. “You were amazing. I’ve never heard Iggy like that. Your voice … you know those gemstones before they’re cut? How they’re completely raw but even more beautiful because you can see what they really are, it’s not processed; it’s just organic and really real? It was like that.”
There’s a pause.
“The plan was for me to crash with Charlene. Do you have a roommate?”
“No – no. Senior, you know. Got my own bed and everything.”
And he can’t believe that this might actually be happening, this could be the best thing ever, when he hears his name over the speakers.
“Andy Gottlieb, up now. Darren Criss, on deck.”
He’s never willingly walked away from an audience, not ever.
But there’s a first time for everything.
“Do you want to maybe possibly see my big, grown-up bed?”
Mia laughs, big and genuine. “That would be the idea. You up for it?”
Darren has to literally contain himself from jumping up and down like a kid at a candy shop, and settles for hooking her arm through his and waving forward. “After you, milady.”
Here there be smut.
This honestly wasn’t the plan. But when a hot guy with a great (albeit short) body and hair she just wants to grab eyefucks her while she’s high off performing, and then it turns out that Charlene, one of the few people she trusts intrinsically, pushes him her way? Plans are meant to be changed, after all.
They trip together into Darren’s room, and with a quick glance around to make sure he wasn’t lying about the roommate, she shoves him against the door, fisting her hand in his hair and kissing him deep and rough and dirty. He moans low, arching into her and returning the kiss with just as much ferocity.
His t-shirt, jeans, and sneakers are simple enough to shove off, and wow. Hands mapping over his body, lingering on his muscled stomach and tracing down his arms. A brush over his nipples leaves him jerking and moaning, and she smiles wickedly. This is the best part.
Walking them backwards to the bed, she lets them drop and roll until she’s straddling him, pinning his hands above his head. He doesn’t struggle, just burns into her with his eyes until she dips her head down, kissing and rocking.
He’s hard already, and she grinds against him more insistently, reveling at the friction. A twist of her hips has him breaking off from the kiss to toss his head to the side, gasping and whining.
There’s not too much out there that’s better than rocking a stage, but the power of making a guy fall apart just with her body? That’s the pinnacle.
She rolls off of him to fumble for the purse she dropped on his floor somewhere between his door and the bed. It’s just out of reach, and she has to – reluctantly – walk the two steps to grab it before coming back to sit on the edge of the bed to sift through her keys and cell phone in search for the condom she knows is in there somewhere.
Intent on her search, she doesn’t even notice Darren crawling up behind her and jumps slightly when he flips her hair to the side to start kissing her neck, sending little electric sparks down her skin, jumping and settling low in her abdomen. He wraps both hands around her waist just as her hand – finally – closes around the foil packet. She doesn’t move, though, suspended by his arms around her, one hand reaching up to take off her top, the other moving down to rub at her thigh, over her stockings.
She knows from experience that waiting for a guy to figure out how to divest her of her more complicated outfits can be quite the mood-killer. Standing, she efficiently finishes removing her one-piece, leaving her in only underwear and fishnets. His eyes grow darker, hazel shifting shades, as he watches her unclasp her bra.
He tugs her back to sit bed, returning them to their previous position. She can feel his cock against her back, not pressing, just a solid heat.
At the urging of his hands, she lifts her hips, allowing him to slowly peel down her fishnets, dragging his fingers down the expanse of her legs as he goes. And suddenly, the tights are on the other side of the room and all either of them are wearing is underwear.
Starting at her ankle, he begins the slow drag back up her legs, fingers dancing and gripping in random intervals, scratching nails turning into callused fingers turning into smooth palms. Her ships start shifting, small jerks that she tries to still and can’t.
His finger finally reaches the edge of her underwear and, tantalizingly slowly, he starts rubbing her silt over the slip of fabric. It’s soaked through enough that she can feel every slide, and she grinds helplessly into his fingers, bending tightly back as his knuckle manages to slip under and in and at just the right angle. Her mind flashes back suddenly to the guitar case he was jostling away from one of his friends as she was climbing on stage. Strong, talented fingers. It shows.
And it just feels so fucking good as he rubs and grinds and pushes his fingers against her, but this isn’t her, it’s not right. She’s never like this, the one becoming strung out and wanton and thrusting and gasping. Someone seeing her like this… rough guitar fingers don’t matter, she can’t.
She twists around powerfully, pushing him back down on to the sheets and climbing on top, devouring him with her mouth and squeezing with her legs and gripping with her arms as she struggles to recalibrate the power balance. (But it’s not just that. She knows how she gets off, and just rutting at her own pace, hard and fast, is the best way to do that). And it’s back to her (hot good sweat more yes) comfort zone, and finally, the two of them are rid of the last remaining scraps of clothing and it’s just two bodies, writhing and pressing and stretching. Together and synchronous.
Somehow, the condom is still in her hands, and she rips the packet open with her teeth, taking it out and smoothing it over Darren’s cock. The touch has him thrashing slightly on the bed, the effort it takes to keep his hips still leaving nothing left to quiet his arched neck or kicking legs. His breath is coming in short gasps and his skin is absolutely covered in sweat (which shouldn’t be sexy but undeniably is).
Finally, desperate to assuage the deep ache she feels traveling throughout her body, she hovers her hips above him before slowly, firmly sinking down. He shouts, arching again, clearly caught between needing to thrust into her and trying to let her set the pace.
There’s no need for such niceties. She rises back up and slams down, working herself as hard as she can on his cock, thrusting down and straining closer. He gasps louder, one hand tightening on her hip, the other alternating between her breasts, roaming and squeezing and pulling as she shoves her hips down and her chest out, needing more and more and more.
She angles until he’s sliding against her g-spot and everything just keeps barreling forward and she slides the hand not clawing at his chest down to her clit and starts sliding her fingers over it with every thrust. It’s all just dizzying pleasure and pushing for more and more until suddenly his hands and her hands and their hips all just clench together and she topples over, falling into her orgasm, clenching hard around him.
The aftershocks are still wracking her body when he thrusts his hips up one last time, completely undone under her ministrations and comes with a hoarse shout that fades into a long moan.
She tries to catch her breath as he rolls away, peeling the condom off with shaky hands and tossing it in the general direction of the trash. She shouldn’t be surprised when he nuzzles his head against her chest, tossing an arm around her waist, but somehow, it seems faintly incongruous with the man that just nearly tore her from the inside out with his fingers and his cock. Charlene’s introduction seems increasingly apt – this guy, multifaceted for sure.
“Snuggliness, right? I think I’m getting its importance now.”
“Mmmm. See, I told you you’d love San Francisco. And New York’s the city that never sleeps, yeah? Sleep…iness. That’s important, too. We should do that. Now.”
Mia chuckles softly. “I utterly failed in my mission to convince you of our superiority?”
“Eh. I might see it a little now. You guys with the lights – it’s all sparkly. You’re all with the sparkles.”
He’s not making any sense and a second later his breathing has evened out into sleep, but she thinks she might understand, anyway.
She really doesn’t normally spend this much time analyzing her one-night stands. If she wasn’t headed away tomorrow, it might be vaguely concerning.
But she is, so she lets herself succumb to the snuggliness in the arms of this lovely man, leaving the worry for later.
That should have been the end of it.
Mia’s well-versed in the etiquette of one-night stands, and even before she opens her eyes, she’s trying to place the location of her clothes and work out the best strategy for a quiet exit.
When she does open her eyes, though, it’s not exactly what she expected. Somehow, her clothes have gone from flung across the room to neatly folded and placed on top the dresser. Darren’s sitting at his desk, typing furiously.
“Morning?” Mia manages.
“Oh, hey, you’re up! Sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you – it’s just that this paper’s due Monday and all my productivity plans for yesterday sort of went out the window and I thought you wouldn’t think I was neglecting you if you were still asleep… yeah?”
Mia’s not quite fluent in crazy man ramblings in a slightly hungover morning, so she just says, “It’s fine. So long as you’re not liveblogging your drunken sexual escapades, neglect away.”
She grabs her jacket and shucks it on, running her fingers through her hair in what she knows is a useless attempt to make herself look remotely presentable to the outside world.
(The walk of shame is so much worse in her performance clothes. She’d feel bad, but those fishnets make her feel like nothing else on stage, and there just isn’t time to change when you’re whole body is still vibrating from the music and you just need to rut against something or you’ll explode into thousands of pieces. Anyone with a problem can go fuck themselves.)
“Are you leaving?”
Mia pauses in her preparations. He’d sounded almost … sad. She knows she’s a fantastic fuck, but she’s really not the type of girl that guys want hanging around too long after they’ve gotten what they wanted.
“Yeah, you know, places to go, innocent Midwestern children to corrupt.”
Darren giggles at that (genuinely giggles, who the hell even is this guy?). “As amazing as I’m sure you are at that, you really don’t want to stay for some breakfast? I’ve got coffee, and you haven’t lived until you’ve tasted the scrabbled eggs and toast made on my hotplate. You know, pause, refuel, all the better to go on your escapades of corruption armed only with the power of punk.”
It’s not a good idea.
“Let’s stick with the coffee and toast. If my intestines don’t revolt, I’ll see what I can do about the eggs.”