Since it was Caleb that had talked Hadley into going out, that instantly meant it was Caleb’s choice of bar. Which only ever meant dymk. Short for Does Your Mother Know, the place was one of Hadley’s most hated bars, purely because of the gay community’s obsession with fucking ABBA. As a guy with Australian parents, whose entire country never really got over them, he’s had enough ABBA to last his entire goddamn life. And yet here he is, being dragged to a bar named after a fucking ABBA song.
Then, of course, there was the issue that it was a gay bar. Caleb Turner was out and proud, as only someone like him could be. He was the sort of person that no one could hate for being gay, because he was just too nice. Too good. He helped old ladies cross the street, donated to charity every month out of his extortionate tip jar, and just generally tried to be a nice person. He was the poster child for the Good Homosexual™ and he abhorred going to straight bars with Hadley. He always said it was boring, because the men were all straight, and Hadley never approached any of the women. They went there to participate in the most boring people watching known to man.
Hadley was distracted from his dreary internal monologue by the opening bars of a dance remix of Dancing Queen, and he was powerless to stop the dying deer-like groan that escaped him, not caring that it earned him his fair share of odd looks. Unlike Caleb, who was busy grinding against several men far too old for him, Hadley spent most of his nights at dymk hugging the bar and hoping to stay invisible. Because, he told himself, you’re a coward.
He was stuck in the doldrums of sexuality. Too straight to call himself gay, too gay to call himself straight, too awkward to call himself bisexual, or anything in between. When he really thought about it, he figured it made sense. His older sister Ava was straight as an arrow, and their middle sibling Cayden got more cock than a chicken farm. It should make sense that he’d be bi, but he couldn’t face up to it. Despite throwing all the acceptance under the sun at Cayden, there was some sort of lingering shame in him at the thought of liking men. It was why, when they’d snuck into dymk to celebrate Caleb’s seventeenth birthday, when Hadley had been propositioned by a tall, dark, and handsome stranger, he had chickened out as soon as they had made plans to leave together. It was why he always shrugged it off whenever he did anything remotely sexual with Caleb, because Caleb didn’t count as a guy. Caleb was just Caleb.
As if summoned by Hadley’s train of thought, the redhead appeared, glistening with sweat and glitter. Why did every gay bar have a glitter cannon? Or at least, why did every gay bar in their shitty part of San Francisco have a glitter cannon?
“Aren’t you going to come and dance?” Caleb asked, managing to snag the bartender’s attention almost immediately, to the chagrin of everyone else that had been waiting for half an hour.
“When have you ever gotten me to dance, Caleb?” Hadley asked, surly.
“There’s a first time for everything.” He downed the drink the bartender rushed for him, pocketing the phone number that followed. Caleb practically had a ledger of previous fucks and potential new fucks. Most of them scarpered the second they found out he was seventeen, but he often neglected to tell them that until it was too late.
Hadley shook his head. “Not tonight, Caleb. I came here for a drink.” He lifted the half empty bottle of the cheapest beer they stocked, which he’d been nursing all night. “I got what I asked for.”
Caleb rolled his eyes, but didn’t protest otherwise. “Well, if you change your mind, I’ll be over there with Mr. Dark and Stormy.” He pointed to one of the guys he’d been dancing with, who was watching him much too hungrily for Hadley’s liking.
Hadley nursed his drink for another half an hour while various pop anthems blasted overhead. Apparently it was 70s night, which meant nothing but ABBA, Alicia Bridges, and Gloria Gaynor. A far cry from the obscure, up and coming indie bands Hadley chose to listen to, the sort of music he always told himself he’d hate someone else for listening to. He’s the self-proclaimed king of double standards.
He’d been toying with the idea of trying to get another bought for him when Caleb reemerged from the throng of bodies on the dance floor, hips still swaying in time to the deafening rendition of Donna Summer’s Hot Stuff ringing out over the sound system. They were going to have it on repeat in their heads for the rest of the week, at this rate.
“Come on, loverboy, we’re going home,” Caleb announced, tearing Hadley away from the bar.
“How many is ‘we?’” asked the brunette.
“Three. You, me, and Eddie.”
“Eddie?” Hadley said, scrunching up his nose. “Eddie’s a dog’s name.”
Eddie, it turned out, was Caleb’s so-called Mr. Dark and Stormy. He had the build of a football player, packed with muscle and with the shoulder to waist ratio of a fucking Dorito. Blonde, tanned, blue-eyed, he was exactly Caleb’s type. And, by the looks of him, roughly ten years too old for the redhead. But who Caleb fucked was Caleb’s business, Hadley had stopped getting involved long ago. He just had to play nice long enough to get a cab home with the two of them.