"She's been crying like this all night," Benji sighed. "I feel so helpless."

Tony leaned into me and whispered sympathetically, "What's wrong, beautiful?" Coming from someone who was normally the life of the party, the act of compassion was made even greater.

"Everything," I sniffled.

"Well," he smiled, "Could you elaborate so that I might possibly understand your plight, fair damsel?"

This forced a small grin onto my face.

"Yeah," Billy frowned. "You've not been yourself all day long and I'd like to know why!"

"Family matters," I sobbed. "Can we leave it at that?"

Tony took me in his arms as I continued to cry, while Benji sat down beside us.

"Look, Punky," he frowned. "Is it your father again?"

"No," I sniffled. "It's everyone this time! Just when you need someone most, they always bail on you!"

"I've never bailed on you," Benji frowned. "And you know I never would, right Punky?"

I grabbed his hand and squeezed it tightly. "I know," I smiled.

"So," Billy sighed and reclined against the headboard of my bed. "I'm still a little lost as to what's got you so . . ."

His voice trailed off.

"Miserable," Tony finished his thought. "You look purely miserable."

"And I feel it," I frowned.

I was sitting on Tony's lap now, rubbing my watery eyes and sniffling like a fool. "I'm sorry," I squeaked, "I'm so lame, guys, I'm sorry."

Billy's foot nudged my elbow, and both Tony and I turned to look at him. "You're not lame," he grinned, "just a little puffy!"

I giggled.

"And a touch nasal," Benji smirked.

"Stop!" I laughed. "You're not supposed to make it all better just be being so damn . . . "

Tony bounced me in his lap. "Cute?" he asked with a lopsided grin.

"Cute," I smiled back.

They were all three gorgeous men. Benji was the punk rocker: short, stocky with jet black hair in spikes that seemed to grow longer everyday. His tattooed arms gave the best hugs, and his pierced lips provided me with endless hours of fantasies. His voice was soft and sincere, his physical appearance rough and obnoxious at times; it was this contradiction that I loved most about him. And he's a twin!

Billy is the youngest of our group, a baby at twenty-one. With an intense stare and the face of an angel, he was almost too pretty to be real- but he was, and he was one of my best friends. Dressed in his usual t-shirt and jeans, he could pass as "normal" if it weren't for the nose, lip and eyebrow rings that he'd applied to his gorgeous face in an attempt to look less "girly", as he'd put it.

Tony was the least simple of the three to define. A goof, a gentle spirit, a punker, a stoner, Tony wore all the labels simultaneously. A blonde (thanks to the inventors of the bad bleach job), he has tattooed and pierced to the hilt and still managed to look like a member of NSync. Of course, you didn't dare tell him that- Tony hates boy bands.

These were my favorite boys, these were "my people".

"Okay, so," Benji smiled. "Are we done being sad?"

"Sure," I giggled passionately as Tony tickled my armpits. "No more sadness."

"Good," Tony grinned. "Cause we have a surprise for you!"

"You do?," I practically squealed.

"Calm down, cowgirl," Billy laughed, heading for his backpack dangling from my doorknob.

"It's not really that exciting," Benji grinned. "Ya know, something small . . . "

Billy grabbed a small envelope out of his backpack, and turned to me grinning. "Can you handle it?" he smirked.

"Yes!" I shrieked, jumping off Tony's lap. "Gimme, gimme! What is it?"

He inched away, laughing. "Stop acting like a baby!"

"Yeah, Punky," Benji laughed. "Give the guy a chance already."

"Fine," I sighed, sitting back down between Benji and Tony.

"So," Billy started, as though this were a presentation. "We all know you've been stressed out over the car and everything at work, your family situation...."

"Yeah," I frowned.

"We wanted to cheer you up- Benj and I- with slight, insignificant help from T over here...."

"Hey!," Tony laughed. I giggled and leaned up against him.

"Anyhow, we pulled some strings with our almighty super powers," he paused and blew onto his knuckles like a real hot shot. "So, yeah," he smiled, "here ya go!"

I reached for the envelope, my heart practically not beating. What could they have "pulled strings" to get me? My fingers were frozen, but I managed to peel the envelope open with much effort, taking great care not to destroy whatever was inside.

"Well, come on, kiddo," Tony laughed, slapping my thigh. "We're not getting any younger here."

I reached inside and removed an All Access laminate, and a pink piece of stationery folded intricately. "What the fu..." I grinned.

"Well, you see," Benji grinned back. "I wanted to take you on the road, get you away from all your troubles. I was ranting and raving about my vile scheme to T here..."

"I knew your job wouldn't appreciate you disappearing for a week," Tony continued Benji's thought. "So I, we....We gave your boss a call!"

"WHAT?" I shrieked. I was stuck between pure elation that the boys cared enough about me to execute this elaborate plan of theirs, but enangered at their blatant disregard for my job and my boss.

"Don't freak, girl," Billy grinned. "Just read that pink page there."


Have fun on your little adventure. These friends of yours- I dunno, kid. But have fun and get your ass back here by Monday to meet your deadline! I can't be losing my top reporter to some strange band members, touring in god only knows where.

Love, Phyllis

My eyes filled with tears. The guys had plotted a vacation for me, even going so far as to call my boxx and schedule me for time off from work. The whole thought was so exciting and so confusing, I laughed through the tears.

"So," I gleamed, "Which one of you jackasses actually spoke to Phyllis?"

Benji looked sheepish, but raised his hand. "That'd be me," he grinned. "Talk about your interesting individuals. Did you know that her daughter is taking guitar lessons?"

"No, I did not know that," I laughed.

"Well, she is and I'm her private tutor for two hours tomorrow," he smirked.

This made me giggle. "You had to sell your body to get me time off work, huh?"

He chuckled. "Something like that!"

"You whore!" Tony chided.

"Hey, man," Benji grinned. "Not my whole body- just my hands!"

We all erupted in laughter, bringing tears back to my eyes. How could I be so lucky? My friends loved me so very much.


"We want to send this one out to someone very special tonight," Benji beamed to the assembled crowd of several thousand screaming fans. "She's been going through some tough shit lately, so we brought her out here with us for this past week . . . "

"Spit it out, Benj," his twin brother Joel quipped.

"Ah, the power of the microphone," Billy interjected.

Side-stage, I was laughing my ass off. But what was Benji getting at?

"Anyhow," he shouted over his bandmates. "This is her last night and I want her to know that I'm going to miss her something stupid!"

The crowd gave a collective sigh. A few girls "Aww"d, a few wretched, but overall, they were listening to Benji's dedication. "So this one's all you tonight, Punky! Hand in there, I love you," he smiled, winking at me as I watched, surpressing an urge to run right out there and kiss him all over then and there.

"T!" Joel yelled. "Get your ass out here!"

"Come on, T," Benji laughed.

Tony squeezed my shoulder as he ran past me to join the band onstage.

"This is Punky's favorite," he laughed as the band launched into "Walk By," from their self-titled, debut CD. Clearly, this whole cherade- much like my entire week on the road with the boys- had been pre-planned.

I danced like a fool as the boys rocked my song, knowing that my last night was fastly coming to a close. How could I be so happy, and yet, so sad all at once?

The aftershow was pretty typical- Tony entertained the band's guests while they changed quickly from their sweaty stage wear. I sat on a couch watching T arm wrestle a veritable stranger for the right to call himself a "hardass"- or so I thought I had overhead from bits of their conversation.

A young girl wearing bondage pants and a "Benji's Riot Grrl" (how original!) tank top sat down next to me. "So, like, are you, like, dating Benji?," she asked me. I wanted to laugh right in her face, but I knew she was serious.

I grimaced. "Not that I'm aware of."

Her face lit up noticeably. "Are you dating Tony?," she persisted.

"Not that I'm aware of," I repeated. I must have growled- the nerve of this kid!

"Anyone in his band?"

"Nope," I shook my head.

"Alright, well, you can have Billy and Paul, okay?" she smiled, elated that I wasn't claiming any of "her men" as my own. "They're all yours! Is that fair?" she giggled stupidly.

I rolled my eyes and headed for the beer cooler. "Sure," I sighed as I left the fool sitting by herself on the couch.

Benji came up behind me as I sipped my Coronoa, almost spilling the beer all over both of us. "Mmm," he growled playfully into my neck.

"Mmmm, yourself," I laughed, sniffing his t-shirt. "Since when did you start wearing cologne?"

"I'll never tell," he teased, shaking his head.

"Like, oh my god, hi!" came a squeak from behind us.

"Hi," Benji smiled that lewd grin of his.

"You're so much more gorgeous in person," the girl cooed.

"Am I?" he asked her, mockingly.

She continued her conversation with Benji for as long as she possibly could, keeping him occupied for a good ten minutes. God, he had patience! I was thankful that he was the rockstar, and not myself. There was no way that I could oblige such sheer stupidity.

As I walked away from the young girl and her poster idol, I bumped into Billy. "She's smiling!" he practically cheered. His smile was enough to light the room, even if he was the only one in it.

"I've been smiling this whole week," I defended. "Besides, I won't be smiling at the asscrack of dawn tomorrow, when you put me on a plane and I don't see you for another, oh what? Eight months!"

His blue eyes darkened a shade, and he turned very serious. "You know, Alison," he frowned. "Just because we're not next door, it doesn't mean that we're not thinking of you- or loving you any less."

I bowed my head. "I know, Billy. It's just hard to grow up with someone, and then have them taken away for eleven months of the year."

"At least now you appreciate us," he grinned.

I shoved him hard, and laughed. "I've always appreciated you," I laughed. "Always!"

"Not always!," he grinned.

"Always," I smiled and hugged him. He was so tall, so slender, so gentle. You wanted to protect him from all harm, like a child. It was no wonder the boys had nicknamed him "Lil Billy" years ago.

We walked hand-in-hand back to the bus, leaving the crowd of anxious fans behind. I wasn't sorry to be gone, but Billy had a commitment to his fans. "Can you just leave like this?" I asked as we left the arena.

"Why not?" he furrowed his brows.

He had a point. Why had I opened my mouth? "Well, there's kids waiting for you to sign shit," I offered.

He winked and nodded his head. "No, there's not! I know for a fact that I spoke to EVERY kid in that room, Ali!"

"Aren't we the kind, caring rockstar!," I winked back.

"I'm not a rockstar," he said very seriously. "Not even close."

This made me grin. "There are a lot of people that would disagree with that," I laughed.

"They'd be wrong," he looked stern. "I'm not here for money or fame, Alison. You of all people should know that."

He was very serious about this, almost upset with me for suggesting the antithesis of his motives. "I know," I smiled. "I know."

We walked silently after that, climbing onto the bus long before anyone in our little group of band and friends.


"So, Punky," Benji grinned, "Are you sharing with sexy me tonight or with lame-ass gonzo over there?"

Billy nestled under his covers and smiled. "It's warm over here," he laughed, rustling his blankets with great exaggeration.

"Well, sexy, I hate to break it to you," I laughed. I couldn't ever stay serious around these guys. "But Tony and I have a hot date with a cot!"

Benji gasped. "No! He's cheating on me? With a portable bed?"

We looked at each other and bust out laughing just as Tony entered the room.

"It can't have been something I said," Tony grinned as he threw himself down on top of Billy.

"So back to me," Benji whined. "Are you sleeping with me tonight or what, Punky?"

I smiled lewedly. The thought had crossed my mind on many a hot night. "Dream on, Benj!"

He picked me up and carried me over to his bed, leaning over me and pinning my wrists. "Then I'm going to have to have my way with you by some other means," he smirked.

"Right," Tony laughed, "It's called the date rape drug!"

I frowned. "That's not even funny, T!"

Benji laughed, mocking me and telling Tony to "play nice with the little girlies".

I was laughing with the boys, but still unamused that Benji had me pinned under him. "Can I get up now, please?" I smiled sweetly.

"Actually, no," Benji smirked. "I like you like this."

"Weighted down by your...."

"Girth?" he smiled.

I pushed him off me and he landed on the bed beside me. "You wish," I grinned, showing my muscles.

"I do," he whispered. I smiled.

"You're being exceptionally fiesty tonight, Benj," Tony grinned. "It's very..."

Billy hollered from underneath a pillow. "It's his usual, T!"

Benji and I laughed. A lewd grin spread over his face, "Yes, well, I'm a bad boy, what can I say?"

He was so sexy. We'd been friends for countless years, and my heart had always skipped beats for that lopsided grin of his. When he'd laugh, I felt my heart flutter and I knew that, for better or worse, I was fooling myself to say that all I ever wanted from Benjamin was friendship. I wanted so much more, and yet, I had lived the past years afraid to make my move.

"Punky?," he sighed, so close to my skin that my IQ points began to drop rapidly.

"Yeah, Benj?" I smiled.

"Have you ever thought about me?," he asked, his face becoming very serious, his pierced lip stuck out in a terribly sensual pout.

I shook my head, laughing. "I think about you all the time, dumbass."

He grinned and rolled onto his back, beside me. "No, Punky, like....think about me."

"What are you getting at, Ben?," I frowned. I knew what he was getting at, and I wasn't sure that I wanted to hear it. How demented our minds can be, eh?

His brown eyes gleamed, studying my face thoughtfully. "Like have you ever thought about what it would be like to be with me..." his voice trailed down to a whisper.

Somewhere in the room, Tony and Billy erupted into laughter.

"Ben," I sighed.

"Punky, I'm serious. Have you ever been sitting alone, on a rainy day, wondering where I am, what I'm doing, who I'm with. Maybe your mind starts to wander, and you start to think about the curves of my body, my skin on yours, my lips touching yours..."

He was visibly excited by his own words. My skin was on fire.

I sighed heavily, rolling onto my side and gazing into the familiar warmth of his chocolate eyes. "No, Ben, I can't say I ever have."

"That's honest of you," he frowned. "I think about you a lot, obviously. I wish that..."

"Ben, stop!," I sighed. "Don't turn this into a sob fest. Please, it's my last night!"

"I know, Punky, but I was going somewhere with this," he grinned with renewed amusement. "I was going to ask you if you'd....."

"Suck his dick, because he's desperate, really he is! It's you or his fist, and his fist is tired, Punky!" Tony quipped, landing alongside me on the bed.

We laughed hysterically, Benji entirely unamused.

"Come on, Benj, it was only a joke," Tony smiled at his best friend. The two of them were so close, it was almost scary at times. Rumors persisted all over the Internet that they were, in fact, more than friends, but I'd never seen any evidence of that- at least not outside my dreams.

"Anyhow," Benji continued, ignoring our fits and snorts, "I'd really like you to sleep here tonight."

"She can't, Benj," Tony grinned. "It would be cheating on the cot, and the cot has feelings."

Tony and I erupted into more laughter, but Benji's frown remained stoicly intact. "T, I'm being serious here!"

"Fine, fine," Tony waved, rolling and turning his back to mine. "You can continue your failing seduction of our friend, and I'll just pretend like I'm not hearing any of it, okay?"

"You're jealous!" Benji scowled. "You're jealous that I'm telling her how I feel when you never could!"

"BOYS PLEASE!," I shrieked. "Take it elsewhere, cause this is insane!"

Tony rolled so his chin was resting on my shoulder, his voice heating my neck as he spoke. "I'm not jealous," he sighed, glaring at Benji through my hair. "I just don't think it's cool to...."

"Be honest with myself?" Benji retorted.

"Benji, please," I frowned. "This is very uncomfortable for me, so stop it!"

"I'm not trying to...." he grumbled. "I just wanted to put it out there. I really...." he was mumbling now.

"Punky?" Tony grinned, rolling me to face him.

You couldn't help but smile back into those blue gems. "Yeah, T?"

"What retard here is trying to say is that . . . We had a long conversation a few weeks ago, and we agree that we both really, really dig you!"

I laughed. "I really dig you both, too, T!"

Tony wrinkled his nose. "Not just like that, Punky, we like you- probably more than each of us should!"

"Oh," I must have gasped.

Benji grabbed my shoulder and squeezed, whispering into my ear, "That's all. I needed to say that to you now, here. Before you go home and I lose you again."

"You never 'lose' me, Ben," I smiled. "You never, ever lose me."

"I know," he sighed into my ear. "But it feels like it when we're out here and you're back there."

"I know," I sighed back.

Tony whispered into my other ear, "So let's just enjoy what time we have left together, okay?"

Benji growled into my ear and wrapped his arms around my hips. "Yeah."

"You two," I laughed, shaking my head.

"No, don't," Tony hushed me. "Be serious."

Benji squeezed me tightly to him, and I could feel his body's reaction to our closeness. "Mmm, Ali," he whispered. "You smell so perfect and you feel so wonderful."

I looked at Tony with panic spread across my face. This wasn't supposed to happen, or was it? It was a recurring dream of mine, something I would joke to my girlfriends about on late Saturday nights, but reality....This wasn't reality.

"Relax," he assuaged. "We're not going to do anything you don't want us to."

"And what if I want it to stop right here?," I asked sternly.

"Then it stops right here," Benji assured, clutching me tighter. "But you don't want it to stop now, do you, Punky?"

I sighed, trying to avoid a commital response. What the hell was I doing here, between Tony and Benji? Two of my best friends, two people I loved and adored and cared more for than I could put to words. This was so very wrong, to be here, contemplating what they weren't asking with their words but what was unspoken and understood between the three of us.

Tony leaned in closer, our noses touching. "Trust me," he grinned, "You won't regret it!"

"Sure, I will," I smiled back. "You'll throw me out in the morning, you won't call, and I'll be back to my miserable, lonely self."

Benji laughed, Tony frowned. "Alison, I would never...."

"Stop!" I smiled. "I'm teasing you!"

"Oh," Tony smiled. "Well, then."

"Shut up," Benji laughed from behind me.

"And kiss me?," Tony grinned as he pulled my lips to his.

His limps were gentle and plush, so warm on my own, the taste of him filling me even before our tongues touched. I allowed my hands to creep to the back of his neck, drawing my body closer to his, exciting nerve-endings all throughout my spine. How could something so wrong feel so good? He was my best friend!

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